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A.  MAHADEVA  SASTRI,  b.  a., 
Curator,  Government  Oriental  Library,  Mysore. 

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[All  Rights  Reserved.  ] 



The  G,    T.  A.  Printing  Works, 

I  fof 


(A  A  A 

i.i.  Sri  BhamarajGndraladayarlahadur,  6i.i.i., 

I'he  Late  JVEaharaja   of  ]VIysops, 





Under  the  designation    "  VEDIC    RELIGION  "    it    is 

proposed  to  publish  in  a  series  English  translations  of  some 

of  the  most   important  Ancient   Scriptures   of  the   Aryans 

with  such  authoritative  commentaries  as  may  throw  more 

light    upon    their   teachings.     The   Bhagavad-Gita    justly 

heads  the  series,  as  embodying  in  a  most  popular  form   the 

essence  of  the  whole  Vedic  Religion  within  a  short  compass. 

The  publication  of  the  present  volume  and  the  possibility  of 

prosecuting  the  work — to  me,  of  love — further  on  is  altogether 

due  to  the  kindness  and  liberality  of  Sir  K.  Seshadri  Iyer,  k.c. 

s.  I.,  the  Hon'ble   Sir.  S.  Subrahmanya  Iyer  k.  c.  i.  e.,  and 

Mr.  A.  Ramachandra  Iyer  (Judge,  Chief  Court,  Bangalore). 

I  have  throughout  attempted  a  literal  translation  of  the 
Bhashya,  the  text  of  the  Bhagavad-Gita  being  also  literally 
translated  in  the  light  of  the  Bhashya.  The  Bhashya  has 
been  translated  in  full  except  where  a  literal  translation  of 
the  Bhashya  of  a  whole  verse  or  even  of  a  considerable  part 
of  it  would  be  a  mere  repetition  of  the  translation  of  the 
corresponding  portion  of  the  text  of  the  Gita  ;  in  which 
case  I  have  either  altogether  omitted  the  Bhashya  or  trans- 
lated only  those  portions  which  rather  explain  the  meaning 
of  the  text  than  merely  show  in  what  order  the  words  in  the 
text  should  be  construed  or  merely  give  their  synonymous 
equivalents.  Wherever  a  mere  literal  translation  of  the 
Bhashya  is  not  likely  to  bring  out  its  full  import  or  leaves 
any  room  for  doubt  as  to  its  meaning,  I  have  added,  in  the 
form  of  foot-notes,  explanations  mostly  extracted  from 
Anandagiri's  Tika,  each  such  extract  being  marked(A)at  the 


end.  This  Tika  is  always  the  clearest  and  most  to  the  point 
and  is  almost  indispensable  for  a  proper  understanding  of 
some  important  portions  of  the  Bhashya.  An  immediate 
disciple  of  Sri-5ankaracharya  as  he  is  reputed  to  be,  he 
should  also  be  the  safest  guide. 

It  has  always  been  my  special  aim  to  make  the  Bhashya 
in  its  English  garb  as  clearly  intelligible  to  a  general  reader 
as  I  could,  without  unnecessarily  departing  from  the 
original,  even  as  regards  the  structure  of  sentences.  With 
this  end  in  view,  I  have  introduced  into  the  translation  as 
few  technical  terms  as  possible,  whether  of  the  Eastern  or 
of  the  Western  philosophy  and  theology.  Where  necessary, 
original  Sanskrit  terms  have  been  used  along  with  their 
English  equivalents.  In  some  cases  Sanskrit  terms  alone 
have  been  used,  inasmuch  as  their  English  equivalents  are 
found  not  to  convey  adequately  the  intended  idea.  The 
exact  sense  of  every  such  Sanskrit  term  will  be  found  ex- 
plained where  it  occurs  for  the  first  time  in  the  Bhashya  or 
may  be  gathered  from  the  context  in  which  it  occurs. 

Even  if  the  translation  be  not  quite  clear  when  read  by 
itself,  I  have  no  doubt  that  it  will  at  least  enable  those  who 
are  even  slightly  acquainted  with  Sanskrit,  to  understand 
clearly  the  Bhashya  in  the  original,  especially  as  given  in 
my  edition  above  referred  to.  The  Bhashya,  written  as  it 
is  in  the  author's  peculiarly  terse  and  archaic  style,  presents 
in  several  places  difificulties — even  as  to  the  exact  relation 
of  the  different  parts  which  follow  one  another  in  the  course 
of  a  discussion— which  Sanskrit  students  who  are  not 
thoroughly  conversant  with  the  author's  style   and    system 


of  philosophy  can  scarcely  overcome  without  the  help  of 
Anandagiri's  T(ka  or  some  such  help  as  the  present  transla- 
tion affords.  It  is,  moreover,  always  a  distinct  j,'ain  to  lie 
thus  able  to  study  the  original  and  avoid  the  errors  into 
which  commonplace  readers  may  fall  if  they  should  confine 
themselves  to  the  translation. 




The  twofold  Vedic  Religion. — The  purpose  of  the  Divine 
Incarnation. — The  Gita  and  the  Commentary. — Juana-Yogd 
is  the  means  to  the  Supreme  Bliss. — How  Karma-Yoga  is 
a  means  to  the  Supreme  Bliss. — The  specific  subject  and 
object  of  the  Gita-Sastra.  pp.  i-6. 












for  of  ^-'^'^  'o' 

pertain  the  „  pertain  to  the 


man, — 



"Susrflshi"  „  "Susrushu" 

desires  t  ,.  desires  to  hear 

mind.  The  ,.  mind,  the 

..■1.1J uiict  3     wcdivncai     i-uuuciiiiicu     uy     iiic     j_/uiu. n.ijuiici 

seeks  instruction  from  the  Lord. — Self-knowledge  alone 
eradicates  misery. — The  doctrine  that  knowledge  should  be 
conjoined  with  w^orks. — Sankhya  and  Yoga  distinguished — 
Conjunction  inconsistent  with  the  sequel. — Some  cases  of 
apparent  conjunction  explained. — The  Self  is  immortal. — 
Endurance  is  a  condition  of  wisdom. — The  Real  and  the 
unreal. — The  Self  is  unconcerned  in  action. — The  Self  is 
immutable. — The  enlightened  man  has  to  renounce  works — 
Works  are  meant  for  the  unenlightened. — Knowledge  of 
the  Immutable  Self  is  possible. — The  enlightened  should 
resort  to  Juana-Yoga. — How  the  Self  is  immutable. — -No 
room  for  grief. — A  warrior   should  fight. — Yoga. — Yoga,  a 



The  twofold  Vedic  Religion. — The  purpose  of  the  Divine 
Incarnation. — The  Gita  and  the  Commentary. — Jnana-Yoga 
is  the  means  to  the  Supreme  Bliss. — How  Karma-Yoga  is 
a  means  to  the  Supreme  Bliss. — The  specific  subject  and 
object  of  the  Gita-5astra.  pp.  i-6. 

First  Discourse. 

The  Despondency  of  Arjuna. 

Sanjaya  narrates  the  course  of  the  war. — Duryodhana 
addresses  Dro«a. — Both  armies  ready  for  battle. — Arjuna's 
survey  of  the  enemy. — Arjuna's  words  of  despondency. — 
Arjuna's  grief  at  the  evils  of  war.  pp.  7-13. 

Second    Discourse. 


Arjuna's  weakness  condemned  by  the  Lord. — Arjuna 
seeks  instruction  from  the  Lord. — Self-knowledge  alone 
eradicates  misery. — The  doctrine  that  knowledge  should  be 
conjoined  with  works. — Sankhya  and  Yoga  distinguished — 
Conjunction  inconsistent  with  the  sequel. — Some  cases  of 
apparent  conjunction  explained. — The  Self  is  immortal. — 
Endurance  is  a  condition  of  wisdom. — The  Real  and  the 
unreal. — The  Self  is  unconcerned  in  action. — The  Self  is 
immutable. — The  enlightened  man  has  to  renounce  works — 
Works  are  meant  for  the  unenlightened. — Knowledge  of 
the  Immutable  Self  is  possible. — -The  enlightened  should 
resort  to  Jiitina-Yoga. — How  the  Self  is  immutable. — -No 
room  for  grief. — x\  warrior   should  fight. — Yoga. — Yoga,  a 

xii.  CONTENTS. 

safe  course. — Wisdom  is  one. — No  wisdom  possible  for  the 
worldly-minded. — Advice  to  the  Yogin. — Karma- Yoga. — 
The  merit  of  Wisdom. — Results  of  Karma- Yoga. — The 
characteristic  attributes  of  a  perfect  Sage. — (i)  Satisfaction 
in  the  Self. — (2)  Equanimity  in  pleasure  and  pain. — (3) 
Absence  of  attachment,  delight  and  aversion. — (4)  Com- 
plete withdrawal  of  senses  from  objects.  —  Unrestrained 
senses  work  mischief. — (5)  Devotion  to  the  Lord. — Thought 
of  sense-objects  is  the  source  of  evil. — Sense-control  leads 
to  peace  and  happiness. — Sense-restraint  conduces  to  steady 
knowledge. — (6)  The  Universe,  a  mere  dream  to  the  Sage. — 
Works  are  not  meant  for  the  sage. — (7)  Subjugation  of 
desire  and  personal  self.  —  Knowledge  leads  to  Divine 
Felicity.  pp.  14-70, 

Third  Discourse. 

Karma- Yoga. 

Arjuna's  perplexity. — No  conjunction  of  Knowledge  and 
Action. — Renunciation  enjoined  in  the  scriptures. — Moksha 
cannot  be  the  effect  of  an  action. — Conjunction  is  inconsist- 
ent with  Arjuna's  question. — Which  is  better.  Knowledge 
or  Action. — The  paths  of  Knowledge  and  Action — Karma- 
Yoga  leads  to  freedom  from  action. — The  ignorant  are 
swayed  by  Nature.— The  unenlightened  should  not  give  up 
Karma- Yoga The  wheel  of  the  world  should  be  set  go- 
ing. —  Karma- Yoga  is  not  meant  for  the  Self-knower. — 
Arjuna  qualified  for  Karma- Yoga. — The  wise  should  set  an 
example  to  the  masses. — The  wise  man's  action  as  contrast- 
ed with  that  of  the  ignorant. — How  an  aspirant  for  Moksha 
should  do  actions Influence  of  man's  nature  on  his  con- 
duct.— Scope  for  man's   personal  exertion. — Desire  is  the 


enemy  of  man Desire  enshrouds  wisdom. — The  seat  of 

desire. — How  to  kill  out  desire.  pp.  71-103. 

Fourth  Discourse. 


Tradition  of  J«ana-Yoga. — Divine  Incarnations. —  The 
purpose  of  Divine  Incarnation. — J/;ana-Yoga  is  the  sole 
means  to  moksha. — Divine  dispensation  of  worldly  benefits 
and  salvation. —  Caste  as  a  divinely  ordered  human 
institution. — Action  without  attachment  does  not  bmd  the 
soul. — The  real  nature  of  action  and  inaction. —  Who  is  a 
Sage  ? — The  Sage's  worldly  action  as  an  example  to  the 
masses. —  The  Sage's  action  for  bodily  maintenance. — 
The  Sage's  worldly  action  does  not  bind  him. — Wisdom- 
sacrifice. — Sacrifices  effected  by  action. — Wisdom-sacrifice 
is  superior  to  other  sacrifices. — How  and  where  one  should 
seek    wisdom Wisdom,    a   consumer   of    all    sins     and 

L actions. — The  surest  means  to  wisdom. — Wisdom,  the  killer 
of  doubt.  pp.  104-138. 

Fifth   Discourse. 


Which  is  better  for  the  ignorant.  Karma- Yoga  or 
Sa;;myasa  ? —  The  question  is  not  with  reference  to  the 
enlightened. — Karma-Yoga  and  Sa;;myasa  inapplicable  to 
the  enlightened. — Karma- Yoga  suits  the  ignorant  better 
than  Sa;;myasa —  Sankhya  and  Yoga  lead  to  the  same 
goal. — Karma- Yoga  is  a  means  to  Sawmyasa. — A  Sage's 
actions  do  not  affect  him. — A  Sage's  actions  are  really  no 
actions — Karma- Yogin  is  untainted  by  the  results  of  his 
action. — The  blissful  embodied  life  of  a  Sage. — Nature  is 
the  source  of  activity. — Wisdom  and  unwisdom. — The  Sage 
has  no  more  births.— The  Sage  sees  the  One  in  all  beings.— 


The  Sage  is  liberated  while  still  on  earth. — The  Sage  is  free 

from    grief  and   rejoicing. — The  Sage's   infinite  joy The 

path  of  Nirvana. — Realisation  of  the  Lord  by  Dhyana- 
Yoga.  pp.  139-162. 

Sixth    Discourse. 


Dhyana-Yoga  is  incompatible  with  works Renunciation 

in  action. — Action  is  a  stepping-stone  to  Dhyana-Yoga. — 
Who  is  a  Yogin  ? — Directions  for   the   practice  of  Yoga. — 

Consummation Further  directions  concerning  the  practice 

of  Yoga. — The  effect  of  Dhyana-Yoga. — Practice  and  Indiffer- 
ence are  the  surest  means  to  Yoga. — Failures  in  Yoga  and 
the  after-career. — The  best  of  the  Yogins.  pp.  163-187. 

Seventh  Discourse. 


Realisation  of  the  Lord  by  meditation. — Evolution  of  the 
Universe  out  of  Divine  Praknti. — The  Divine  Principle 
penetrating  the  Universe. — Maya  :  How  to  overcome  it. — 
Four  classes  of  devotees. — The  ignorant  worship  inferior 
Gods. — The  root  of  ignorance. — Divine  worship  leads  to 
realisation.  pp.   188-200. 

Eighth  Discourse. 


The  seven  things  to  be  realised  by  meditation — Constant 
meditation  of  the  Divine  is  necessary. — The  Divine  Being 
to  be  meditated  upon. — Meditation  of  the  Divine  in  the 
Pra»ava. — No  re-birth  on  attaining  to  the  Divine  Being. — 
The  Day  and  the  Night  of  Brahma. — The  Highest  Goal, 
how  reached — The  Paths  of  Light  and  Darkness. — Excel- 
lence of  Yoga,  pp.  201-214. 


Ninth  Discourse. 

Sovereign  Wisdom  and  Secret. 

Brahma-jfiana  is  the  best   Religion. — All    beings   rest    in 

the  Lord. — The  Lord   is   the   source   and    the   end   of  all 

beings. — The  Lord  is  not  bound  by  His  acts. — The   life   of 

the   impious. — The   ways   of    the     faithful    devotees — All 

worship  goes  to  the  Lord. — The  fruits  of  interested   acts  of 

Vedic  ritual. — The  Supreme  watching  over    His   devotee's 

interests. — Other  devotees  do  but  worship  the   Supreme   in 

ignorance. —  Facility  in    Devotion   to   the   Supreme. — The 

impartiality  of   the    Supreme. — Even    the    low-born    attain 

salvation  by  Devotion. — The  Yoga  of  Devotion. 

pp.  215-233. 

Tenth    Discourse. 

Divine  Manifestations. 

The  Lord  is  the  source  of  all  manifestations — Knowledge 
of  the  Lord's  Glory  conduces  to  Yoga. — The  Lord  endows 
His  devotees  with  wisdom. — Arjuna's  question  about  the 
Lord's  manifestations — The  Lord's  enumeration  of  His 
manifestations. — Divine  Glory  described  in  brief. 

pp.  234-247. 
Eleventh    Discourse. 

The  Universal  Form. 

Arjuna's  prayer  for  a  vision  of  the  Universal  Form. — 
Arjuna  endowed  with  heavenly  sight  wherewith  to  see  the 
Universal  Form.— The  manifestation  of  the  Lord's  Uni- 
versal Form — Vish;/u  is  one  with  the  Unconditioned. — The 
Universal  Form    (continued). — The    wonderfulness   of   the 

Universal  Form Theterribleness  of  the  Universal  Form 

Arjuna's  vision  of  the  defeat  of  the  enemy. — The   splendour 
of  the  Universal  Form. — The  Lord's  advent  for  destruction 


of  worlds Arjuna's  adoration    of  the    Universal    Form — 

Arjuna's  prayer  for  the  Lord's  forgiveness. — Arjuna's 
prayer  for  the  Lord's  resumption  of  His  usual  form. — The 
Lord  resumes  His  usual  form. — Devotion  as  the  sole  means 
to  the  realization  of  the  Universal  Form. — The  essence  of 
the  whole  teaching  of  the  Gita.  pp.  248-264. 

Twelfth  Discourse. 


Who  are  superior,  the  worshippers  of  Isvara,  or  the 
worshippers  of  Akshara  ? — The  worshippers  of  Isvara. — The 
worshippers  of  Akshara. — Salvation  by  worship  of  Isvara. — 

Abhyasa-Yoga Service   of   the    Lord. — Abandonment   of 

the  fruits  of  actions. — The  life  of  the  Akshara-upasakas. 

pp.  265-276. 

Thirteenth  Discourse. 

Matter  and  Spirit. 

The  main  subject  of  the  discourse. — The  body  and  soul 

Identity  of  the  soul  with  the  Lord The  soul  is  subject   to 

evil  only  through  ignorance. — Kshetraj;?a  is  really  unaffect- 
ed by  sa7«sara. — Avidya  inheres  in  the  organ,  not  in  the 
Self. — Scriptural  injunctions  apply  only  to  the  state  of 
bondage. — Bondage  and  liberation  are  not  real  states  of  the 

Self. — Scriptural  injunctions  concern   the   unenlightened 

Learned  but  deluded. — The  relation  of  the  Self  to  samskra 
is  a  mere  illusion. — The  perception  of  the  relation  of  avidya, 
etc.,  to  the  Self  is  due  to  illusion. — Summary  of  the  Doc- 
trine  The  Doctrine  extolled. — Matter  in  all  its  forms 

Virtues    conducive    to    Self-knowledge Brahman,     the 

Knowable Brahman   is   beyond    speech    and   thought — 

Brahman  is  the  source  of  all  activity.— Brahman  is  uncondi- 


tioned. —  Brahman,  the  basic  Reality  in  all  illusory 
phenomena. —  Brahman,  theperceiver  of  the  gu«as —  Brah- 
man is  all Brahman  is  comprehended  only  by  the  wise. — 

Brahman  is  the  one  Self  in  all. —  Brahman  is  the  Cause  of 
the  Universe. —  Brahman  is  the  Illuminator  of  all. —  The 
Light  is  in  the  heart  o-f  every  one. —  Seek  the  Light  through 
devotion. —  Prakriti  and  Purusha  are  eternal. —  Prakriti  and 
Purusha  as  the  Cause  of  sawsara. —  Avidya  and  Kama  are 
the  cause  of  rebirths. —  Self-knowledge  removes  the  cause  of 

sawsara The  four   paths   to    Self-knowledge Nothing 

exists  outside  the  Self. —  The  one  Self  in  all. —  Knowledge 
of  the  one  Self  leads  to  moksha. —  Prakriti  acts,  not  the 
Self. —  The  Self  is  the  source  and  the  abode  of  all. —  The 
Self  is  unaffected  by  the  fruits  of  acts. —  The  Self  illumines 
all. —  The  doctrine  summed  up.  pp.  277-338. 

Fourteenth  Discourse. 

The  Three  Gunas. 

The  subject  of  the  discourse. —  Knowledge  of  the  origin 
of  the  universe  is  necessary  for  salvation. —  Evolution  of 
the  Universe  from  the  union  of  Spirit  and  Matter. —  The 
gu;jas  bind  the  soul. —  The  nature  and  functions  of  the 
gunas. —  The  mutual  action  of  the  gu;2as. —  How  to  know 
when  a  particular  gana.  is  predominant. —  Life  after  death 
as  governed  by  the  gu/zas. —  The  functions  of  the  gu;zas 
summed  up —  Realisation  of  the  Self  beyond  the  gunas 
leads  to  immortality. —  The  marks  of  a  liberated  soul —  The 
conduct  in  life  of  a  Liberated  one. —  Devotion  to  the  Lord 
leads  to  liberation. —  Unity  of  Atman.  pp.    339-354. 

Fifteenth   Discourse. 

The  Supreme  Spirit. 
The  Tree  of  Saw/sara. —  Cut  the  Tree  and  seek  the  Goal. — 


The  Path  to  the  Goal. —  The  Goal  is  the  Lord's  Glorious 
Being. —  Jiva  is  a  ray  of  the  Lord. —  How  Jiva  dwells  in 
the  body  and  departs  from  it. —  The  Self  is  visible  only  to 
the  eye  of  knowledge. —  No  Self-knowledge  without  Voga. — 
Immanence  of  the  Lord,  (i)  as  the  all-illumining  Light  of 
Consciousness. —  (2)  As  the  all-sustaining  Life —  (3)  As  the 
Digestive  Fire  in  all  living  organisms. —  (4)  As  the  Self  in 
the  hearts  of  all. —  The  Lord  beyond  the  perishable  and  the 
imperishable   universe. —  The    Glory    of    Self-knov\ledge. 

PP-  355-37^- 
Sixteenth  Discourse. 

Spirituality  and  Materialism. 

Spiritual  disposition. —  Materialistic  disposition. —  Re- 
sults of  the  two  dispositions. —  The  materialists.—  The 
materialist's  view  of  the  world —  Men's  life  as  guided  by 
materialism. —  The  materialist's  aspirations. —  The  materi- 
alist's sacrificial  rites. —  The  materialist's  neglect  of  Divine 

Commandments The  materialist's  fall. —  The  three  Gates 

of  Hell  to  be  avoided. —  Let  the  Law  guide  thy  life. 

pp.  372-383- 

Seventeenth  Discourse. 

The  Threefold  Faith. 

The  ignorant,  but  faithful. — The  three  kinds  of  Faith. — 
Men  of  Rajasic  and  Tamsic  Faiths. — Threefold  Food,  Wor- 
ship and  Gift. — The  three  kinds  of  Food. — The  three  kinds 
of  Worship. — Physical  Austerity. — Austerity  in  speech. — 
Mental  Austerity. — The  three  kinds  of  Austerity  according 
to  Gu«as. — The  three  kinds  of  Gift. — How  to  perfect  the 
defective  acts. — Works  without  faith  are  fruitless. — The 
teaching  of  the  discourse  summed  up.  pp.  334-395. 


Eighteenth  Discourse. 

Conclusion.  • 

'  Sa;;myasa '  and  'Tyagja'  distinguished. —  Should  the 
ignorant  perform  works  or  not  ? —  The  Lord's  decree  is 
that  the  ignorant  should  perform    works —  The    obligatory 

works  should  be  performed  without  attachment Tamasic 

and  Rajasic  renunciations  of  works. —  Renunciation  in 
works  is  Sattvic. —  From  renunciation  in  works  to  renunci- 
ation of  all  works —  Renunciation  of  fruits  is  alone  possible 
for  the  ignorant. —  Effects  of  the  two  renunciations  after 
death. —  Factors  in  the  production  of  an  act. —  The  agency 
of  the  Self  is  an  illusion  — Realisation  of  the  non-agency  of 
the  Self  leads  to  absolution  from  the  effects  of  all   works. — 

The    Impulses   to    action The    Impulses    are     threefold 

according  to  the  guna.s. —  Sattvic  Knowledge. —  Rajasic 
Knowledge. —  Tamasic  Knowledge. —  Sattvic  Action. — 
Rajasic  Action.  —  Tamasic  Action.  —  Sattvic  Agent. — 
Rajasic  Agent. — Tamasic  Agent. — Intellect  and  firmness 
are  threefold  according  to  gu«as.  — Sattvic  Intellect. — 
Rajasic  Intellect. — Tamasic  Insellect. — Sattvic  Firmness. — 
Rajasic  Firmness. — Tamasic  Firmness. — Pleasure  is  three- 
fold according  to  gu«as.  — •  Sattvic  Pleasure.  —  Rajasic 
Pleasure. — Tamasic  Pleasure. — No  man  or  god  is  free  from 
gu»as. — The  sequel  sums  up  the  whole  Doctrine. — Duties 
of  the  four  castes  ordained  according  to  nature. — Devotion 
to  one's  own  duty  leads  to  perfection. — One  ought  not  to 
abandon  one's  own  duty. — Is  entire  renunciation  of  action 
possible?— The  Sankhya,  Buddhistic,  and  Vaiseshika 
theories.—  Refutation  of  the  Vaiseshika  theory. —  Refutation 

of  the  Pari/zama-Vada.-  The  Lord's  theory  of  illusion 

The    enlightened    alone    can    renounce    action     entirely. — 


Perfection  in  Karma- Yoga  leads  to  absolute  Perfection.  — 
Absolute  Perfection  is  the  consummation  of  Self-know- 
ledge.—  Is  Self-knowledge  possible  at  all? —  The  Self  reveals 
Himself  in  Pure  Reason. — Cognition  and  the  Cogniser  are 
self-revealed. —  The  Path  to  Absolute  Perfection. —  The 
consummation  of  Knowledge  attained  by  Devotion. — 
Renunciation  of  all  works  is  necessary  for  Absolute  Per- 
fection.—  Devotion  to  the  Lard  by  works  enjoined. —  Devo- 
tion to  the  Lord  is  the  Secret  of  success  in  Karma- Yoga. — 
Right  Knowledge  and  Renunciation. —  What  is  the  means 
to  the  Highest  Bliss,  Knowledge  or  Works  ?  — Self- 
Knowledge  alone  is  the  means  to  the  Highest  Bliss.  — 
Knowledge  cannot  be  conjoined  with  works.  — Refutation 
of  the  theory  that  salvation  is  attained  by  works  alone.  — 
Refutation  of  the  theory  that  the  Nitya- Karma  leads  to  no 
future  births.  — The  Paths  of  Know.ledge  and  Works  are 
meant  for  distinct  classes  of  aspirants.  — Action  is  a  creature 
of  Avidya.  — The  theory  of  Avidya  does  not  militate  against 
the  authority  of  Karma- Kri»^a.  — Refutation  of  the  theory 
of  the  Self's  agency  by  mere  presence.  — The  theory  of 
Avidya  concluded.  — Qualification  for  instruction  in  the 
Gita  Doctrine. — The  merit  of  teaching  the  Doctrine. — The 
merit  of  hearing  the  Doctrine. — The  Lord  assured  by 
Arjuna  of  his  grasp  of  the  Teaching. — Sanjaya  extols  the 
Lord  and  His  teaching.  pp.  396-479. 


A  A 





Naraya;/a  is  beyond  tbe  Avyakta  ; 
From  the  Avyakta  the  Mundane  Egg  is  born  ; 
\Yithin  the  Mundane  Egg,  verily,  are  these  worlds 
And  the  Earth  made  up  of  the  seven  Dvipas. 

[  This  is  a  paura«ic  verse  speaking  of  the  Antaryamin, 
the  Inner  Guide  and  Regulator  of  all  souls.  It  is  quoted 
here  by  the  commentator  in  order  that  he  may  begin  his 
important  work,  after  the  orthodox  fashion,  with  the  con- 
templation of  his  favorite  God  (Ish/a-Devata),  namely,  Na- 
raya«a,  and  further  with  a  view  to  shew  that  the  Pura»a 
(archaic  history),  the  Itihasa  (ancient  tradition)  and  the 
Gitti  teach  one  and  the  same  doctrine.  Naraya«a  is,  in  the 
popular  conception,  the  Creator  who  was  brooding  over 
the  waters  just  before  the  beginning  of  Creation.  Cf.  Manu 
I.  lo.  According  to  a  subtler  conception,  Na.raya«a  is  the 
Antaryamin,  the  Divine  Being  in  whom  all  embodied  souls 
have  their  being.  He  is  not  a  creature  of  the  Avyakta,  but 
far  transcends  it.  It  is  the  Avyakta,  the  Avyak/ita,  Maya, 
the  undifferentiated  matter,  out  of  which,  when  in  apparent 
union  with  Isvara,  is  evolved  the  principle  of  Hira;/yagarbha, 
here   spoken   of  as  A«(fa  or  the   Mundane  Egg,  which  is 


composed  of  the  five  simple  rudimental  elements  of  matter. 
An  intermingling  of  the  five  rudimental  elements  of  matter 
gives  rise  to  the  principle  of  the  Viraj,  of  which  are  formed 
the  Earth  and  all-  the  other  lokas  or  inhabited  regions.— 
{Anandagiri).  The  seven  Dvipas  or  insular  continents  are 
Jambu,  Plaksha,  Kusa,  Krau?;cha,  Saka,  5almala  and 
Pushkara.      For   further  particulars   regarding   these,  see 

"^y/ikon'^s  yi:sh;mpura»a  Vol.  I, p.  109  ff.] 

>•  '    '■       till 

.  -       '   •    '   The-  twofold  Vedic    Religion. 

'  J  .rrhrt  Iloru  created 'tlie  universe,  and  wishmg  to  secure 
'  brdfer'  tnerein' 'He  flr'st  created  the  Prajapatis"  (Lords  of 
creatures)  such  as  Marichi  and  caused  them  to  adopt  the 
Pravntti-Dharma,  the  Religion  of  Works.  .  He  then 
created  others  such  as  Sanaka  and  Sanandana  |  and  caused 
them  to  adopt  the  Nivntti-Dharma,  the  Religion  of 
Renunciation,  characterised  by  knowledge  and  indifference 
to  worldly  objects.  It  is  the  twofold  Vedic  Religion  of 
Works  and  Renunciation  that  maintains  order  in  the 
universe.  This  Religion  which  directly  leads  to  liberation 
and  Avorldly  prosperity  has  long  \  been  practised  by  all 
castes  and  religious  orders  (var»a-asrama) — from  the  brah- 
nia«as  downwards, — who  sought  welfare. 

*  They  are  ten  in  number.     Cf.  Mann  remained — as   the     name    of    the    first, 

J.  34,  35.    Authorities  diSer  as   to   their  Sanatkumara,    implies — ever    boys,    Ku- 

names    and     number.        See     Wilson's  miiras,  that  is,  ever  pure  and  innocent. 
Vishnupurana,  \'ol.  I,  pp.  loo — 102.  ;  The  words  '  dirghe«a  kalena'  (mean- 

t  They  were  '  without  desire  or  pas- 
sion, inspired  with  holy  wisdom,  es- 
tranged from  the  universe  and  undesir- 
ous  of  progeny.'  See  VishHupura»a, 
Part  I,  Ch.  VII.  The  authorities  difier 
as  to  their  names  and  number ;  see 
Wilson's  V.  P.,  Vol.  I,  pp.  77—78. 
These,     tjjeclining    tq    create    progeny, 

ing  a  long  time)  in  the  Com.  are  also 
construed,  as  an  alternative  interpreta- 
tion, with  the  next  following  sentence. 
Then  it  means 'a  long  time  after,'  i.e., 
when  the  Krita  and  the  Treta  Vugas  had 
been  over  and  the  Dvapara-Vuga  was 
approaching  its  end. — (A) 


The  purpose  of  the  Divine  Incarnation. 

When,  owing  to  the  ascendancy  of  lust  in  its  votaries, 
religion  was  overpowered  by  irreligion  caused  by  the 
vanishing  faculty  of  discrimination,  and  irreligion  was 
advancing,  it  was  then  that  the  original  Creator  (Adi-kartn), 
Vish//u,  known  as  Naraya«a,  wishing  to  maintain  order  in 
the  universe,  incarnated  '■'■'■  Himself  as  Knsh/za,  begotten  in 
Devaki  by  Vasudeva,  for  the  preservation  of  the  '  earthly 
Brahman,'  f  of  spiritual  life  (  Brahma^atva  )  on  the  earth. 
For  it  was  by  the  preservation  of  spiritual  life  that  the 
Vedic  Religion  could  be  preserved,  since  thereon  depend 
all  distinctions  '  of  caste  and  religious  order.  The  Lord, 
always  possessed  as  He  is  of  (infinite)  knowledge,  supre- 
macy, power,  strength,  might  and  vigour,  controls  the 
Maya, — belonging  to  Him  as  Vish/m, — the  Mulaprakriti,  the 
First  Cause,  composed  of  three  Gu«as  ^  or  energies,  and 
He  appears  to  the  world  as  though  He  is  born  and  embodi- 

■  The  words  in  the  Com.  corresponding 
to  this  are  'amsena  sambabhuva.'  As  ai;isa 

means  a  part,  it  would  mean  that  Kiish-  .  .  .  ,  ,  .  , 

«a   was  a    partial     incarnation   of  God  Q^ln*ll?TI*1^\l'^t    || 

Vish,.u.     But  of  the  several  forms  of  the  ..^j^^^  ^^^  ^^.^^^  ^ady  Devaki  begat 

incarnation   of  God,     Krishna  is   on   all  ^y  Vasudeva  for   the  preservation  of  the 

hands  recognised  as  a  full  incarnation  of  earthlv   Brahman 

Vish.m.     Accordingly,     .Inandagiri     ex-  (Santi-parva.  47th  Adhvaya .)     "Earthly 

plains    'amsena'    to     mean   'svechchha-  ;?,«/„„fl,r  is  explained  by  Nilaka«/ha  to 

nirmitena-mayamayena  svarupena,'  that  „,(;„„    .  tl,g  y^^^^    ,,,g   brahma».as,  and 

is,  "in  an  illusory   form   created   by   His  yaj)ias  or  sacrifices.'" 

own  will.'  .   L-  u   .  ■  II. 

,   Ksnatnyas    and   others   require   the 

f  The  Commentator  here  refers  to  the  help  of  the  brahma«as,  the  spiritual  class 
following  passage  :  In  the  performance  of  sacred  rites  and  in 
.   .^    .    .^^        ^*^^    J,  th^  study  of  Scriptures.— (.\.) 
^   ^^    2^^'a^I  j  For  a  full  description  of  the  Gu;ias 
^       _  r\ ,  S3e  xiv.  5  et  seq. 

^^^  ^OTT  ^ 



ed  and  helping  the  world  at  large  ;  whereas  really  He  is 
unborn  and  indestructible,  is  the  Lord  of  creatures,  and  is 
by  nature  Eternal,  Pure,  Intelligent  and  Free. 

[The  special  stress  laid  here  on  Maya  as  belonging 
to  and  being  under  the  control  of  the  tsvara  is  chiefly 
intended  to  impress  the  idea  that  Maya  does  not  exist  or 
act  independently  of  Brahman,  the  Isvara.  He  is  quite 
independent  of  Maya,  unlike  the  individual  souls  who  are 
subject  to  its  influence.  The  followers  of  the  historical 
school  of  the  Sankhya-darsana  hold,  on  the  other  hand, 
that  Matter  and  Spirit,  Prakriti  and  Purusha,  are  two 
distinct  principles,  the  former  being  as  real  as  the  latter  and 
acting  in  unison  with  it. — (A.)  ] 

Without  any  interest  of  His  own,  but  with  the  sole 
intention  of  helping  His  creatures.  He  taught  to  Arjuna, 
who  was  deeply  plunged  in  the  ocean  of  grief  and  delusion, 
the  twofold  Vedic  Religion,  evidently  thinking  that  the 
Religion  would  widely  spread  when  accepted  and  practised 
by  men  of  high  character. 

The  Gita  and  the  Commentary. 

It  is  this  Religion  which  was  taught  by  the  Lord  that 
the  omniscient  and  adorable  Veda-Vyasa  (the  arranger  of 
the  Vedas)  embodied  in  the  seven  hundred  verses  called 

This  famous  Gita-5astra  is  an  epitome  of  the  essentials 
of  the  whole  Vedic  teaching;  and  its  meaning  is  very 
difficult  to  understand.  Though,  to  aff'ord  a  clear  view 
of  its  teaching,  it  has  been  explained  word  by  word  and 
sentence  by  sentence,  and  its  import  critically  examined  by 
several  commentators,    still  I  have   found   that  to  the  laity 


it  appears  to  teach  diverse  and  quite  contradictory  doct- 
rines. I  propose,  therefore,  to  write  a  brief  commentary 
with  a  view  to  determine  its  precise  meaning. 

Jnana-Yoga  is  the  means  to  the  Supreme  Bliss. 

The  aim  of  this  famous  Gita-Sastra  is,  briefly,  the 
Supreme  Bliss,  a  complete  cessation  of  sawsiira  or  trans- 
migratory  life  and  of  its  cause.  This  accrues  from  that 
Religion  (Dharma)  which  consists  in  a  steady  devotion  to 
the  knowledge  of  the  Self,  preceded  by  the  renunciation  of 
all  -works.  So,  with  reference  to  this  Religion,  the  doctrine 
of  the  Gita,  the  Lord  says  in  the  Anu-Gita'''  as  follows  : 

"  That  religion,  indeed,   is  quite  sufficient  for 

the     realisation     of   the   state   of    Brahman, 

the  Absolute."     (Xsv.  Parva  xvi.  12.) 
In  the  same  place  it  is  also  said : 

"  He  is  without  merit  and  without  sin,  without 

weal  and  woe, — he  who  is  absorbed  in  the  one 

seat,  silent  and  thinking  nothing." 
And  He  also  says  : 

"  Knowledge  is  characterised  by  renunciation." 

{Ibid,  xliii.  26.) 
Here  also  at  the  end  Arjuna  is  thus  exhorted : 

"  Abandoning  all  dharmas,  come  to  'Me  alone 

for  shelter."     (xviii.  66). 

.  •  This  forms  part  of  the  Asvaniedha- 
parva  and  is  contained  in  chapters  16-51 
of  that  parva  or  section.  It  professes  to 
bj  a  sort  of  recapitulation  of  the  teaching 
of  the  Bhagavad-Gita.  Sometime  after 
the  fratricidal  war  was  over,  Arjuna 
requested  Knshna"  to  repeat  the  instruc- 
tion which  had  been  conveyed  to  him  on 
the  holy  field  of  Kurukshetra,  but  which 

had  gone  out  of  his  degenerate  mind.  Kii- 
sh)ia  thereupon  protested  that  He  was  not 
equal  to  a  verbatim  recapitulation  of  the 
Bhagavad-gita,  but  agreed,  in  lieu  of  that, 
to  impart  to  Arjuna  the  same  instruction 
in  other  words  through  the  medium  of  a 
certain  ancient  story."— See  Sacred  Books 
0/ the  East,  Vol.     VIII,  pp.   197—198. 

6  THE  BHAGAVAt)-GitA. 

How  Karma- Yoga  is  a  means  to  the  Supreme  Bliss. 

Though  the  Rehgion  of  Works,— which,  as  a  means  of 
attaining  worldly  prosperity,  is  enjoined  on  the  several  castes 
and  religious  orders,— leads  the  devotee  to  the  region  of 
the  Devas  and  the  like,  still,  when  practised  in  a  spirit  of 
complete  devotion  to  the  Lord  and  without  regard  to  the 
(immediate)  results,  it  conduces  to  the  purity  of  the  mind 
(sattva-5uddhi).  The  man  whose  mind  is  pure  is  competent 
to  tread  the  path  of  knowledge,  and  to  him  comes 
knowledge  ;  and  thus  (indirect]}^)  the  Religion  of  Works 
forms  also  a  means  to  the  Supreme  Bliss.  Accordingly, 
with  this  very  idea  in  mind,  the  Lord  says  : 


"  He  who  does  actions,  placing  them  in  Brahman," 

"  Yogins  perform  actions,  without  attachment, 

for  the  purification  of  the  self."     (v,  lo,  ii). 

Tlie  specific  subject  and  object  of  the  Qita  =  Sastra. 

The  Gita  ^aslra  expounds  this  twofold  Religion,  whose 
aim  is  the  Supreme  Bliss.  It  expounds  specially  the  nature 
of'the  Supreme  Being  and  Reality  known  as  Viisudeva, 
the  Parabrahman,  who  forms  the  subject  of  the  discourse. 
Thus  '■'■''  the  Gita-5astra  treats  of  a  specific  subject  with  a 
specific  object  and  bears  a  specific  relation  (to  the  subject 
and  object).  A  knowledge  of  its  teaching  leads  to  the 
realisation  of  all  human  aspirations.  Hence  my  attempt  to 
explain  it. 

*  It  is  considered  incumbent  on  a  tlie  subject  is  the  Para-Urahnian ;  the 
commentator  to  state,  before  comment-  object  is  Salvation,  Moksha.  It  is  intend- 
ing on  a  work,  the  subject  and  the  ed  for  those  who  seek  deliverance  from 
object,  as  well  as  the  class  of  personsf  or  the  turmoil  of  samsara.  It  is  related  to 
whom  it  is  intended,  and  the  relation  in  the  subject  as  an  exposition  thereof,  and 
which  it  stands  to  the  three  severally.Here  to  the  object  as  a  means  of  attaining  it. 


Sanjaya  narrates  the  course  of  the  war. 

Dhntarash/ra  said  : 

I.  What  did  FiVidns  sons  and  mine  do  when 
they  assembled  together  on  the  sacred  plain  of 
Kurukshetra  eager  for  battle,  O  Sa;«jaya  ? 

Sa;»jaya  said  : 

2.  Having  seen  the  army  of  the  Pan^avas 
drawn  up  in  battle-array,  prince  Duryodhana  then 
approached  his  teacher  and  spoke  (these)  words  : 

Duryodhana  addresses  Drona. 


3.  "  O  teacher,  look  at  this  grand  army  of  the 
sons  of  Pan^u,  marshalled  by  thy  talented  pupil, 
the  son  of  Drupada. 

4.  "  Here  are  heroes,  mighty  archers,  equal 
in  battle  to  Bhima  and  Arjuna, — Yuyudhana, 
Virata,  and  Drupada,  the  master  of  a  great  car 
(maharatha),  * 

5.  "  Dhrishfaketu,  Chekitana,  and  the  valiant 
king  of  Kasi,  Purujit  and  Kunti-Bhoja  and  that 
eminent  man  Saibya  ; 

•  Technically,  '  maharatha'  means  '  a        who  single-handed  can  fight   a   thousand 
warrior    proficient    in  military    science        archers," 


6.  "  The  heroic  Yudhamanyu  and  the  brave 
Uttamaujas  ;  the  son  of  Subhadra  and  the  sons  of 
Draiipadij  all  masters  of  great    cars  (maharathas). 

7.  "  But  know,  O  best  of  the  twice-born,  who 
are  the  most  distinguished  among  us,  the  leaders 
of  my  army;  these  I  name  to  thee  by  way  of 

8.  "  Thyself  and  Bhlshma,  and  Karna,  and  also 
Kripa,  the  victor  in  war,  Asvatthaman  and  Vikarwa, 
and  also  Jayadratha,  the  son  of  Somadatta ; 

g.  "  And  many  other  heroes  who  have  given  up 
their  lives  for  my  sake,  fighting  with  various 
weapons,  all  well-skilled  in  battle. 

10.  "  This  army  of  ours  protected  by  Bhishma 
is  inadequate,  whereas  that  army  of  theirs  which  is 
under  the  protection  of  Bhima  is  adequate.  * 

11.  "  And  therefore  do  ye  all,  occupying  your 
respective  positions  in  the  several  divisions  of  the 
army,  support  Bhishma  only." 

Both  armies  ready  for  battle. 

12.  His  mighty  grandsire,  (Bhishma),  the 
oldest  of  the  Kauravas,  in  order  to  cheer  him, 
sounded  on  high  a  lion's   roar  and  blew  his  conch. 

13.  Then,  all  at  once,  conches  and  kettledrums, 

*  This  sloka  is  diftercntly  interpreted  that   his  army,    larger    and   led   by    an 

by  difterent  commei'.tators.    -4  nandagiri's  abler  leader  than   the  enemy's,  is  more 

gloss    suggests   various     interpretations  likely  to  win  the  battle, 
which  all  go  to  make  Duryodhana   mean 


cymbols,  drums  and  horns  were  played  upon,  and 
the  sound  was  a  tumultuous  uproar. 

14.  Then,  too,  Madhava  and  the  son  of  Vividu, 
seated  in  a  grand  chariot  yoked  to  white  horses, 
blew  thair  celestial  conches. 

15.  Hrlshikesa  blew  the  Panchajanya,  and 
Arjuna  blew  the  Devadatta.  Bhima,  (the  doer)  of 
terrible  deeds,  blew  his  great  conch  Paun^ra. 

16.  Prince  Yudhish/hira,  the  son  of  Kanti, 
blew  the  Anantavijaya,  while  Nakula  and  Sahadeva 
blew  the  Sughosha  and  the  Manipushpaka. 

17.  The  king  of  Kasi,  an  excellent  archer, 
Sikhaniin,  the  master  of  a  great  car,  Dhrish/a- 
dyumna  and  \'ira/a,  and  the  unconquered  Satyaki ; 

IS.  Drupada  and  the  sons  of  Draupadi,  O  lord 
of  earth,  and  the  son  of  Subhadra,  of  mighty  arms, 
all  together  blew  their  respective  conches. 

ig.  That  tumultuous  sound  rent  the  hearts  of 
(the  people)  of  Dhritarash/ra's  party,  making  both 
heaven  and  earth  resound. 

Arjuna's  survey  of  the  enemy. 

20-22.  Then  seeing  the  people  of  Dhritarash/ra's 
party  regularly  marshalled,  while  the  discharge  of 
weapons  began,  Arjuna,  the  son  of  Pa;/^u,  whose 
ensign  was  a  monkey,  O  King  of  earth,  took  up 
his  bow  and  said  thus  to  K/ishna : 

"  O  Achyuta  (Immortal),  place  my  chariot 
between  the  two  armies,   that  I  may  just  see  those 


2^  THE    BHAGAVAD-GiTA.  [DiS.   I 

who  stand  here  desirous  to  fight,  and  know  with 
whom  I  must  fight  in  this  strife  of  battle. 

23.  ''  I  will  observe  those  who  are  assembled 
here  and  are  about  to  engage  in  battle  desirous  to 
do  service  in  war  to  the  evil-minded  son  of 

Sa/njaya  said  : 

24-25.  O  descendant  of  Bharata,  Hrishikesa 
(Krishna)  thus  addressed  by  Guiakesa  (Arjuna) 
stationed  that  excellent  car  between  the  two 
armies  in  front  of  Bhishma  and  Drona  and  all  the 
rulers  of  earth,  and  said  :  "  O  son  of  Pritha,  look 
at  thes3  assembled  Kauravas." 

26-27.  Then  the  son  of  Pritha  saw  arrayed 
there  in  both  the  armies  fathers  and  grandfathers, 
teachers,  maternal  uncles,  brothers,  sons,  grand- 
sons and  comrades,  fathers-in-law  and  friends. 

27-2S.  When  the  son  of  Kunti  saw  all  the 
kinsmen  standing,  he  was  overcome  with  deepest 
pity  and  said  thus  in  sorrow : 

Arjuna's  words  of  despondency. 

Arjuna  said  : 

28-29.  Seeing  these  kinsmen,  O  Krishna, 
arrayed  and  desirous  to  fight,  my  limbs  droop 
down,  and  my  mouth  is  dried  up.  A  tremor  comes 
on  my  body  and  my  hairs  stand  on  end, 


30.  The  Ga;/^iva  slips  from  my  hand,  and  my 
skin  is  intensely  burning.  I  am  also  unable  to 
stand  and  my  mind  is  whirling  round,  as  it  were. 

31.  And,  O  Kesava,  I  see  omens  foreboding 
evil.  Nor  do  I  see  any  good  from  killing  my 
kinsmen  in  battle. 

32.  I  desire  not  victory,  O  Krishna,  nor  king- 
dom, nor  pleasures.  Of  what  avail  is  dominion 
to  us,  O  Govinda  ?  Of  what  avail  are  pleasures  and 
even  life  ? 

33-34.  They  for  whose  sake  dominion,  enjoy- 
ments and  pleasures  are  sought  b}'  us  are  here 
standing,  having  staked  their  life  and  wealth  : 
teachers,  fathers,  sons  as  well  as  grandfathers  ; 
maternal  uncles,  fathers-in-law,  grandsons,  bro- 
thers-in-law as  also  (other)  relatives. 

35.  These,  O  slayer  of  Madhu,  I  do  not  wish 
to  kill,  though  they  kill  me,  even  for  the  sake  of 
dominion  over  the  three  worlds  ;  how  much  less 
for  the  sake  of  the  earth  ! 

36.  O  Janardana,  what  delight  shall  be  ours 
after  killing  the  sons  of  Dhritarash/ra  ?  On  kill- 
ing these  felons,  sin  only  will  take  hold  of  us. 

^■},  We  had  then  better  not  slay  our  own  kins- 
men, the  sons  of  Dhritarash/ra  ;  for,  how  can  we 
be  happy,  O  Madhava,  after  slaying  our  own 
people  ? 

12  THE    BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.    I. 

Arjuna's  grief  at  the  evils  of  war. 

38-39.  Though  these,  whose  intelHgence  is 
stricken  by  greed,  perceive  no  evil  in  the  extinction 
of  families  and  no  sin  in  treachery  to  friends,  yet,  O 
Janardana,  should  not  we,  who  clearly  see  evil  in 
the  extinction  of  a  family,  learn  to  refrain  from 
this  sinful  deed  ? 

40.  On  the  extinction  of  a  famil}',  the  im- 
memorial dharmas  *  of  that  family  disappear. 
When  the  dharmas  disappear,  impiety  (adharma) 
overtakes  the  whole  family,  t 

41.  By  the  prevalence  of  impiety,  O  Krishna, 
the  women  of  the  family  become  corrupt.  Women 
corrupted,  there  will  be  intermingling  of  castes 
(varna-sa;;zkara),  O  descendant  of  Vrish;zis. 

42.  Confusion  of  castes  leads  the  family  of  these 
destroyers  of  families  also  to  hell  ;  for,  their  fore- 
fathers fall  (down  to  hell),  deprived  of  the  offer- 
ings of  p\)idsi  (rice-ball)  and  water.  I 

43.  By   these   evil   deeds    of  the  destroyers  of        I 
families  which   cause  the  intermingling  of  castes, 
the   eternal   dharmas   of  castes   and  families  are 

44.  We  have  heard,  O  Janardana,  that  necess- 
ary is  the  dwelling  in  hell  of  the  men  whose  family 
dharmas  are  subverted. 

*  The  duties  and  ceremonies  practised  t  Of  the  destroyed  (according  to  some)) 

by   th-3   family   in    accordance   with    the        of    the   destroyer     (accordiny   to    some 
scriptural  command,  others). 

38 — 47']  '^^^    DESPONDENCY   OF    ARJUNA.  I3 

45.  Alas  !  we  have  resolved  to  commit  a  great 
sin,  inasmuch  as  we  are  endeavouring  to  slay  our 
kinsmen  out  of  a  craving  for  the  pleasures  of 

46.  It  would  be  better  for  me,  if  the  sons  of 
Dhritarash^ra,  with  arms  in  hand,  should  slay  me 
unarmed  and  unresisting  in  the  battle. 

Sa;«jaya  said  : 

47.  Having  said  thus,  Arjuna,  sorrow-stricken 
in  mind,  cast  aside  his  bow  and  arrows  in  the 
midst  of  the  battle  and  sat  down  in  the  chariot. 




Arjunas  weakness  condemned  by  the  Lord. 

1.  To  him  who   was  thus  overcome  with   pity 

and  afflicted,  and    whose  eyes   were  full   of  tears 

and  agitated,    the   destroyer   of  Madhu   spoke   as 

follows  : 

The  Lord  said  : 

2.  Whence  in  (this)  perilous  strait  has  come 
upon  thee  this  weakness  cherished  by  the  ojxwoir- 
thy.  debarring  from  heaven  and  causing  disgrace, 
O  .\.rjuna  ? 

3.  Yield  not  to  unmanliness,  O  son  of  Pritha. 
It  does  not  become  thee.  Cast  off  this  base  weak- 
ness of  heart  and  arise.  O  tormentor  of  foes. 

Arjuna  seeks  instruction  from  the  Lord. 

.\rjuna  said : 

4.  O  slayer  of  Madhu,  how  shall  I  assail  in 
battle  with  arrows  Bhishma  and  Dro«a,  who  are 
worthy  of  worship,  O  slayer  of  enemies. 

5.  Better  indeed  in  this  world  to  live  even  upon 
alms  than  to  slay  the  teachers  of  high  honor.  But, 
were  I  to  slay  these  teachers,  I  should  only  in  this 
world  enjoy  the  pleasures  of  w^ealth,  delights 
stained  with  blood. 

6.  And   we    know   not   which  *   is   the   better 

*  Which  of  the  two — living    upon  alms  witiiout  slaying    otfaers,  or    fighqpg    tii« 
y  wfaicfa  is  our  dut7.— h,^) 


I — 10.]  Sankhya'Yoca.  15 

alternative  for  us  ;  nor  do  we  know  whether  we 
shall  conquer  them  or  they  will  conquer  us.  Even 
the  sons  of  Dhritarash/ra,  after  killing  whom  we 
do  not  wish  to  live,  stand  arrayed  against  us. 

7  My  heart  contaminated  by  the  taint  of  help- 
lessness, my  mind  confounded  about  Dharma,  *  I 
ask  Thee :  Tell  me  what  is  absolutely  good.  I  am 
Thy  pupil.     Instruct    me,  who   have  sought  Thy 


8  I  do  not  indeed  S22  what  can  dispel  the  grief 
which  burns  up  my  senses,  even  after  attaining 
unrivalled  and  prosperous  dominion  on  earth  or 
even  lordship  over  gods. 

Samjaya  said  : 

9  Having  spoken  thus  to  Hrishikesa,  Guiakesa, 
the  tormenter  of  foes,  said  to  Govinda,  '  I  will  not 
fight,'  and  verily  remained  silent. 

10  To  him  who  was  grieving  in  the  midst  of 
the  two  armies,  O  descendant  of  Bharata,  Hrishi- 
kesa, as  if  smiling,  spoke  these  words: 

Self-knowledge  alone  eradicates  misery. 

Now  the  portion  from  i.  2  to  ii.  g  should  be  interpreted 
as  showing  whence  arise  those  evils  of  grief,  delusion,  etc., 
which  in  sentient  creatures  cause  the  misery  of  samsara. — To 
explain :  In  ii.  4  ^/  seq .  Arjuna  displayed  grief  and 
delusion  caused  by  his  attachment  for,  and  the  sense  of 
separation  from,  dominior,.  the  elders,  sons,  friends,  well- 
wishers,  kinsmen,  near  and  remote  relations, — all  this 
arising  from  his    notion  that "  I  am  theirs  and   they    are 

<  '  Pbanna '    here  means    '  3rahinan '  who  supports  aU — (A) 

l6  THE  ehagavad-gItA.  [DiS.  Ilf 

mine."  It  was  when  discrimination  was  overpowered  by 
grief  and  delusion  that  Arjuna,  who  had  of  himself  been 
engaged  in  battle  as  the  duty  of  the  warrior  caste,  abstain- 
ed from  fighting  and  proposed  to  lead  a  mendicant's  life, 
which  was  the  duty  of  a  different  caste^  Accordingly,  all 
creatures  whose  intelligence  is  swayed  by  grief  and  delusion 
and  other  evil  influences  naturally  abandon  their  proper 
duties  and  resort  to  those  which  are  prohibited.  Even  if 
they  are  engaged  in  their  duties,  their  conduct  in  speech, 
thought  and  deed  is  egoistic  and  is  prompted  by  a  longing  for 
reward.  In  their  case,  then,  owing  to  an  accumulation  of 
marit  and  demerit,  of  dharma  and  a-dharma,  the  sawsara, 
p  which  consists  in  passing  through  good  and  bad  births,  hap- 

piness and  misery,  becomes  incessant.  Grief  and  delusion 
are  thus  the  cause  of  sa;«sara.  And  seeing  that  their  cessa- 
tion could  not  b3  brought  about  except  by  Self-knowledge 
added  to  renunciation  of  all  works,  Lord  Vasudeva  wished 
to  teach  that  knowledge  for  the  benefit  of  the  whole  world 
through  Arjuna  and  began  His  teaching  with  ii.  ii. 

The  doctrine  that  knowledge  should  be  conjoined 

with  works. 

Against   the    foregoing    view    some  f    say : — Moksha 
cannot  at  all  be  attained  by   mere  A'tmaj«ana-nish^ha,   by 

*  The  brahmanas  alone  are  allowed  to  Viitti   on   the   Gitu  was  evilently   very 

enter    the  fourth   .-Israma    of  sa/imyasa,  voluininous,  inasmuch  as  5ri  Sankarach- 

which  consists  in  the   renunciation  of  all  arya's  bhashya  is  profeisodly  very  short 

formal  religion  and  worldly  poss2ssions.  in  compirison  with   it.     It    is,  therefore, 

+  According  to  A'nandigiri,  the  Vcitti-  n  it  unlikely  that  the  author  of  th3  Vritti 

kara  is  the  commentator  here   referred  on  the  Gita  w..:-  no  other  than   Bodhaya- 

to.    A  V>-ittikira's  interpretation  of  the  na  who  is  said  to  have  written  a  volumin- 

Brahma-sutras  I.  i.  II — 19  is  also  referred  ous  commentary    on  th?  Brahmi-siitras, 

to  by   Sankaricharya  in  his  commentary  nearly  a  million  slokas  in  extent,  and  of 

on  that  section.     It  is  very  probable  that  which  tha  Sri-bhashya  of  Sri  K  amanuja- 

one  and  the  same  person  was  the  author  charya  is  said  %q  be  a  mere  abstract, 
of  the  two  Vnttis  or  gpmm.entaries.    The 


jf  —  lOJ  SANKhvA   YOGA.  I7 

mere  devotion  to  Self-knowledge  preceded  by  the  renuncia- 
tion of  all  works — By  what  then  ? — Absolute  freedom  can 
be  attained  by  knowledge  conjoined  with  works,  such  as 
the  Agnihotra,  prescribed  in  the  6ruti  and  the  smriti.  This 
is  the  conclusive  teaching  of  the  whole  Gitii.  As  support- 
ing this  view  may  be  cited — they  say — the  verses  ii.  33,  ii. 
47,  iv.  15,  etc.  It  should  not  be  supposed  that  the  Vedic 
ritual  is  sinful  because  it  involves  cruelty,  etc.  "■'■ — Why  ?. — 
For,  our  Lord  says  that,  since  fighting  which  is  the  profes- 
sion of  the  warrior  caste  is  the  proper  duty  (of  the  caste), 
it  is  not  sinful  though  it  involves  cruelty  to  elders,  brothers, 
sons  and  the  like  and  is  therefore  very  horrible ;  and  He 
further  says  that,  in  the  case  of  a  neglect  of  this  duty, 
"abandoning  thy  duty  and  fame  thou  shalt  incur  sin." 
(ii.  33).  This  is  clearly  tantamount  to  asserting  that 
those  rites  which  are  enjoined  as  life-long  duties  by  the 
Vedas    are  sinless  though  they  involve  cruelty  to  animals. 

Sankhya  and  Yoga  distinguished. 

This  is  wrong,  since  the  Lord  has  made  a  distinction 
between  J«ana-nishfha  and  Karma-nish/ha,  between  the 
devotion  of  knowledge  and  the  devotion  of  works,  as  based 

respectively  upon  two  distinct  standpoints The  real  nature 

of  the  Self  as  expounded  here  in  ii.  11 — 30  by  the  Lord 
is  called  Sankhya;  an  intellectual  conviction  of  the  truth 
produced  by  a  study  of  that  section, — that  the  Self  is  no  doer, 
owing  to  the  absence  in  Him  of  such  changes  as  birth — 
forms  the  Sankhya  standpoint  (Sankhya-buddhi);  and  the  en- 
lightened who  hold  this  view  are  called  Sankhyas.  Yoga 
consists  in  the  performance — before  the  rise  of  the  foregoing 

*  Such  as  the  eating  of  uchchhish/a  or  What  remains   of  the  food    of  which  another 
has  already  eaten.— (A). 

r^  THE    BAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.  II. 

conviction— of  works  as  a  means  to  moksha,  requiring  a 
knowledge  of  virtue  and  sin,  and  presupposing  that  the 
Self  is  distinct  from  the  body  and  is  the  doer  and  the  enjoyer. 
Such  conviction  forms  the  Yoga  standpoint  (Yoga-buddhi), 
and  the  performers  of  works  who  hold  this  view  are  Yogins. 
Accordingly  two  distinct  standpoints  are  referred  to  by  the 
^  Lord  in  ii.  39.     Of  these,  He  will   assign  to  the   Sankhyas 

the  J»ana-yoga,  or  devotion  to  knowledge,  based  upon  the 
Siinkhya  standpoint ;  and  so  also  He  will  assign  to  the 
Yogins  the  path  of  Karma-yoga,  or  devotion  to  works,  based 
upon  the  Yoga  standpoint  (iii.  3).  Thuswuth  reference  to  the 
Sankhya  and  the  Yoga  standpoints  two  distinct  paths  have 
been  shown  by  the  Lord,  seeing  the  impossibility  of  J«ana 
and  Karma  being  conjoined  in  one  and  the  same  person 
simultaneously,  the  one  being  based  upon  the  idea  of  non- 
agency  and  unity,  and  the  other  on  the  idea  of  agency  and 
multiplicity.  The  distinction  made  here  is  also  referred  to 
in  the  5atapatha-Brahma;;a. — Having  enjoined  renuncia- 
tion of  all  works  in  the  words,  "The  brahma^as  who, 
having  no  worldly  attachments,  wish  only  for  this  region  of 
the  Self,  should  give  up  all  worldly  concerns,  "  the  Brahma- 
»a   continues   thus  in   explanation  of  the  said  injunction  : 

^  »'  What  have  we  to  do  with  progeny, — we  who  live 

in  this  region,  this  Self?"  (Bnhadara«yaka-Upa- 
nishad,  iv.  4,  22). 

In  the  same  Brahma«a  {ibid,  i.  4,  17)  we  are  told  that, 
before  marriage  and  after  completing  the  investigation  into 
the  nature  of  the  Dharma  or  \'edic  injunctions,  the  man  of 
the  world  '  desired  '  to  acquire  the  means  of  attaining  to  the 
three  regions  (of  man,  of  Pit/'is,  and  of  Devas),  namely,  a 
son  and  the  twofold  wealth,— the  one  kind  of    wealth  being 

called  '  humian  ^nmanmsha), '  consisting  oi  mrn-M  and  leadinig 
to  the  ie^:i(Mi  of  Pitris,  and  the  otber  kind  off  wealth  bang 
caiM^  '  godly  (dairal,*  nnmsis<t™g  in  wisdsm  (^vidTa,  npasana) 
and  leading  to  the  region  of  Dsvas.  Thus  the  Vedk;  lites 
are  intended  fsK  him  oraly  who  has  deames  and  has  no 
knowledge  of  the  Sdlf.  The  renandation  of  these  isenjoin- 
ed  on  him  who  sads  cnlj  the  fcgion  of  the  Sdf  and  is  firee 
fr '  ~'  Ti^sure.  xhis  a^!'ag»Tnii[ini«r  qc  the  two  fMlrihis to  two mstmdt 
.  of  pe^Ae  would  be  unjustifiable  if  the   Locd  had 

intended  a  simultaneous  conjunctiaa  <tf  knowledge  and 
Vedic  rites. 

XeitlM9r  could  Aijuna's  questifan  with  whic  _:   : ...  t  .  j^ui: 
Discoujrse  c^pensbe  sattisfeudbcuily  explained  (on  : .:  i :  ~    -^-"^  )• 
How  might  Aijuna  fdbseJy  impute  to  the  IjobA —   r        ^   -    ~ 
iiL  I — that  which  is  allied  {by  the  of^oncjat)  : 
been  taught  be&ure  by  the  L.(iMrd  and  to  have  rrc :     : 
by  Aijuna, — namdiy,  Idae  impossibility  of  I:  r.rt 

and  wixrks  being  idllowed  by  one  and  the  Sui    ; 
well  as  the  superisioty  of  knowledge  to  wtvks  ? 

Meireovo^,  if  conjunctian  of  knowiedge  and  works  be 
intended  Cor  all,  it  m^ust  have  been  intended  for  Arjui!iJ.    is 
well.     In  that  case  how  migfat  Aijiana  adk  about  onlj 
of  the  two, 

"  Tell  me  con<dusively  that  which  is  the  better  of 
the  two "  (v.  i)  ? 
If  a  {^ysacian  £as  piresQribed  a  mixture  composed  of 
bo::^  sweet:  and  cooling  articles  far  a  man  who  wishes  to 
reduce  bilious  heat  (in  the  system) ,  thete  cannott  arise 
the  question,  ''  which  one  akme  of  the  two  ingredients  caa 
alleviate  tnliotts  Iieat  ? ' 

20  THE    BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.    II. 

Arjuna's  question,  it  might  be  alleged  on  the  other  side, 
was  due  to  his  not  having  understood  aright  the  teaching 
of  the  Lord.  Even  then,  the  reply  of  the  Lord  should  have 
been  given  in  accordance  with  the  question  and  in  the 
following  form  :  "I  meant  a  conjunction  of  knowledge  and 
works;  why  are  you  thus  mistaken  ?"  It  would  not,  on  the 
other  hand,  be  proper  to  answer  in  the  words  "  A  twofold 
path  was  taught  by  Me  "  (iii.  3), — an  answer  which  is  not 
in  accordance  with  the  question   and  is  altogether  beside  it. 

If  it  be  held  that  knowledge  is  to  be  conjoined  with 
such  works  only  as  are  enjoined  in  the  smriti,  even  then 
the  assigning  of  the  two  paths  to  two  distinct  classes  of 
people  respectively  and  other  statements  in  that  connection 
would  be  equally  inexplicable.  Moreover,  Arjuna's  blame 
of  the  Lord  as  conveyed  by  his  words  "  why  dost  Thou 
command  me  to  do  this  horrible  deed  ?"  (iii,  i)  would  be 
inexplicable,  since  he  knew  that  fighting  was  enjoined  in 
the  smriti  as  a  kshatriya's  duty. 

It  is  not,  therefore,  possible  for  anybody  to  show  that 
the  Gita-5astra  teaches  a  conjunction  of  knowledge  with 
any  work  whatever,  enjoined  in  the  sruti  or  in  the  smriti. 

Some  cases  of  apparent  conjunction  explained. 

Now  a  person  who,  having  been  first  engaged  in  works 
owing  to  ignorance  and  worldly  attachment  and  other  evil 
tendencies,  and  having  since  attained  purity  of  mind  by 
sacrificial  rites,  gifts,  austerity,  etc.,  arrives  at  the 
knowledge  of  the  grand  truth  that  "all  this  is  one,  the 
Brahman,  the  Absolute,  the  non-agent,"  may  continue 
performing  works  in  the  same  manner  as  before  with  a 
view  to  set  an  example  to  the  masses,  though  neither  works 

I  —  lo]  SANKHYA    YOGA.  21 

nor  their  results  attract  him  any  longer.  This  semblance 
of  active  life  on  his  part  cannot  constitute  that  course  of 
action  with  \vhich  knowledge  is  sought  to  be  conjoined  as  a 
means  of  attaining  moksha,  any  more  than  Lord  Vasudeva's 
activity  in  His  discharge  of  the  duty  of  the  military  caste 
can  constitute  the  action  that  is  to  be  conjoined  with  His 
knowledge  as  a  means  to  moksha,  or  that  conduces  to  the 
attainment  of  any  specific  end  of  His;  egotism  and  hope  of 
reward  being  absent  in  both  alike.  He  who  knows  the  truth 
does  not  think    'I  act,  '  nor  does  he  long  for  the  results. 

Or  to  take  another  example:  suppose  a  man  seeking 
svarga  or  other  such  objects  of  desire  goes  through  the 
ceremony  of  the  Agni-adhana  as  a  preliminary  to  the  per- 
formance of  sacrificial  rites  such  as  the  Agnihotra  whereby 
to  attain  his  desire,  and  then  commences  the  Agnihotra, 
which  has  thus  became  a  kamya  (interested)  rite;  and 
suppose  further  that  the  desire  vanishes  when  the  sacrifice 
is  half  completed,  but  that  the  man  goes  on  with  it  all  the 
same  :  the  Agnihotra  can  no  longer  be  regarded  as  an  inter- 
ested rite.  Accordingly  our  Lord  says  "  though  doing, 
he  is  not  tainted,"  (v.  7),  and  "The  Self  neither  acts  nor  is 
tainted.  "   (xiii.  31). 

Now  as  regards  the  passages,  "Do  thou  also  perform 
action  as  did  the  ancients  in  the  olden  time"  (iv.  15),  and 
"  By  action  alone,  indeed,  did  Janaka  and  others  aim  at 
perfection"  (iii.  20),  we  must  distinguish  two  cases  and  in- 
terpret the  passages  thus : 

First,  suppose  that  Janaka  and  the  rest  were  engaged  in 
works  though  they  knew  the  truth.  Then,  they  did  so  lest 
people  at  large  might  go  astray ;  whereas  they  were  sincerely 
convinced  that  'the  senses' — but  not  the  Self— were  engaged 

22  THE    BHAGAVAD-gIta.  [DiS.    II. 

in  the  objects  (iii.  28).  Thus  they  reached  perfection  by 
knowledge  alone.  Tliough  the  stage  of  renunciation  had 
been  reached,  they  attained  perfection  without  abandoning 
Avorks ;  that  is  to  say,  they  did  not  formally  renounce 

Secondly,  suppose  that  they  had  not  known  the  truth. 
Then  the  passages  should  be  interpreted  thus  : — By  meons 
of  works  dedicated  to  Isvara,  Janaka  and  the  rest  attained 
perfection, — '  perfection  '  meaning  here  either  '  purity  of 
mind'  or  '  the  dawn  of  true  knowledge.'  It  is  to  this  doctrine 
that  the  Lord  refers  when  he  says  "  The  Yogin  performs 
action  for  the  purification  of  the  self.  "  (v.  11  )  .  Elsewhere, 
after  having  said  that  '  man  attains  perfection  by  worship- 
ping Him  with  his  own  dut}''  (xviii.  46)  ,  the  Lord  again 
recommends  the  patli  of  knowledge,  to  him  who  has  attained 
perfeclion,  in  the  following  words :  "  How  he  who  has 
attained  perfed^ion  reaches  Brahman,  that  do  thou  learn  from 
Me.   "(  xviii.  50)  . 

The  conclusion,  therefore,  of  the  Bhagavad-gita  is  that 
salvation  is  attained  by  knowledge  alone,  not  by  knowledge 
conjoined  with  works.  That  such  is  the  teaching  of  tlie 
Gita  we  shall  shew  here  and  there  in  the  following  sections 
according  to  the  context. 

The  Self  is   immortal. 

Now  finding  no  means  other  than  Self-knowledge 
for  the  deliverance  of  Arjuna  who  was  thus  confounded  as 
to  his  duty  and  was  deeply  plunged  in  the  mighty  ocean  of 
grief,  Lord  Vasudeva  who  wished  to  help  him  out  of  it 
introduced  him  to  Self-knowledge  in  the  following  words  : — 

The  Lord    said  : 
II,     For  those  who  deserve  no  grief  thou  hast  grieved, 

I — 12]  SANKHYA  YOGA.  ^3 

and   words  of  wisdom   thou    speakest.     For 

the  living  and   for  the  dead  the   wise    grieve 

not.  ^ 

Such  people  as  Bhishma  and  Drowa  deserve  no  grief  f, 
for  they  are  men  of  good  condudl  and  are  eternal  in  their 
real  nature.  You  have  grieved  for  them  saying  "  I  am  the 
cause  of  then-  death;  of  what  avail  are  pleasures  of  dominion 
and  other  things  to  me  left  alone  without  them  ?  "  And  you 
also  speak  the  words  I  of  wise  men.  Thus  you  exhibit 
inconsistency  in  yourself, — foolishness  and  wisdom, — like  a 
maniac.  For  i  ,  the  wise  (  pa.ndltcih  ) — those  who  know  the 
Self— grieve  neither  for  the  living  nor  for  the  dead.  They 
alone  are  wise  who  know    the   Self.     For,    the    sruti  says  : 

"  Having  obtained   wisdom   {pdnditya.,  i.  c,  know- 
ledge of  the  Self)  in  its  entirety..."   (Bri.  Up.    III. 

That  is,  you  grieve  for  those  who    are    really   eternal  and 
who  really  deserve  no  grief  ;    wherefore  you  are  foolish. 

(Question)  : — Why  do  they  deserve  no  grief? 

[Ansiver) : — For,  they  are  eternal. 

{Question)  : — How  ? 

{Anszi'cr)  : — The  Lord  says  : 

''  He  who  knows  not  the  Self  is  subject  personalities  or  their  real  nature.    Perso- 

to  illusion.   He  who  is  subject  to  illusion  nally  they  are  men  of  good  condCct ;  in 

will  obtain  right  knowledge  by  devoutly  their  real  nature   (as   identical   with  the 

listening  to  the  words   of  the  Scripture  Absolute)  they  are  eternal, 

and  the  spiritual  teacher,  and  by  investi-  I  Referring   to    what  Arjuna    said    in 

gating  into  the  nature  of  things  as   they  i.^zetscq. — (A.) 

are  with  a   view   to    clearly   understand  5  The  second  half  of  the  verse  is  intend- 

such    teachings.      This   shews    to    what  ed  to  show   that  Arjuna's  delusion  was 

class  of  persons  this  teaching  is  addressed.  due  to  his  ignorance  of  the  true  nature  of 

— (  A. )  the  Self.— (A.) 

+  Whether   you   regard    their  present 

14  THE  BMAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.    II. 

12.  Never  did  I  not  exist,  nor  thou,  nor 
these  rulers  of  men  ;  and  no  one  of  us  will 
ever  hereafter  cease  to  exist. 

Never  did  I  cease  to  exist ;  on  the  other  hand,  I  always 
did  exist ;  that  is,  through  the  past  bodily  births  and  deaths, 
I  always  existed.  So  also,  never  did  you  cease  to  exist  ; 
on  the  other  hand,  you  always  did  exist.  So,  never  did  these 
rulers  of  men  cease  to  exist ;  on  the  other  hand,  they  always 
did  exist.  So,  neither  shall  we  ever  cease  to  exist ;  on 
the  other  hand,  we  shall  all  certainly  continue  to  exist  even 
after  the  death  of  these  bodies.  As  the  Self,  the  Atman,  we 
are  eternal  in  all  the  three  periods  of  time  (past,  present 
and  future). 

The  plural  '  us '  is  used  with  reference  to  the  bodies 
that  are  different ;  it  does  not  mean  that  there  are  more 
than  one  Self. 

{Question) : — Now,  how  is  the  Self  eternal  ? 

{Answer) : — Here  follows  an  illustration  : 

13.  Just  as  in  this  body  the  embodied  (Self) 
passes  into  childhood  and  youth  and  old  age, 
so  does  He  pass  into  another  body.  There  the 
wise  man  is  not    distressed. 

We  see  how  the  embodied  Self  passes  unchanged  in  the 
present  body  into  the  three  stages  (avasthas)  of  childhood, 
youth  or  the  middle  age,  and  old  age  or  the  age  of  decay, 
all  distinct  from  one  another.  At  the  close  of  the  first  of  these 
stages  the  Self  is  not  dead,  nor  is  He  born  again  at  the  com- 
mencement of  the  second  ;  on  the  other  hand,  we  see  the  Self 
passing  unchanged  into  the  second  and  third  stages.  Just  so 




does  the  Self  pass  unchanged  into  another  body.  Such  being 
the  case,  the  wise  man  is  not  troubled  (in  mind)  about  it. 

Endurance  is  a  condition  of  wisdom. 

Now  Arjuna  might  argue  as  follows :  It  is  true  that  when 
one  knows  the  Self  to  be  eternal  there  is  no  room  for  the 
distressful  delusion  that  the  Self  will  die.  But  quite  common 
among  people,  as  we  see,  is  the  distressful  delusion  that 
the  Self  is  subject  to  heat  and  cold,  pleasure  and  pain,  as 
also  to  grief  due  to  the  loss  of  pleasure  or  to  the  suffering  of 

As  against  the  foregoing,  the  Lord  says  : 

14.  The  sense-contacts  it  is,  O  son  of  Kunti, 
which  cause  heat  and  cold,  pleasure  and  pain  ; 
they  come  and  go,  they  are  impermanent.  Them 
endure  bravely,  O  descendant  of  Bharata.* 

The  senses  are  those  of  hearing  and  the  like,  by  which 
sound  and  other  things  are  perceived.  It  is  the  contacts  of 
the  senses  with  their  objects  such  as  sound — or,  according 
to  another  interpretation,  it  is  the  senses  and  the  contacts — 
i.  e.,  the  sense-objects,  such  as  sound,  which  are  contacted 
by  the  senses, — which  produce  heat  and  cold,  pleasure  and 
pain.  Cold  is  pleasant  at  one  time  and  painful  at  another. 
So  also  heat  is  of  an  inconstant  nature,  f     But  pleasure  and 

*  Here  Arjuna  is  addressed  as  the 'son 
of  Kunti'  and  again  as  the  'descendant  of 
Bharata,'  to  show  that  he  alone  is  fit  to 
receive  the  teaching  who  is  well  descen- 
ded on  the  father's  as  well  as  on  the 
mother's  side. — (A.) 

f  The  separate  mention  of  heat  and 
cold  which  should  properly  be  included 
under  the  category  of  objects  (vishayas) 

implies  that  the  subjective  feelings  of 
harmony  and  discord  are  the  immediate 
antecedents  of  pleasure  and  pain.  The 
external  objects  first  produce  subjective 
changes,  such  as  the  sensations  of  heat 
and  cold  or  the  feelings  of  harmony  and 
discord,  and  then  produce  pleasure  and 
pain.— (.\.) 



[Dis.  II. 

pain  are  constant  in  their  respective  natures  as  pleasure  and 
pain.  Wherefore  heat  and  cold  are  mentioned  separately 
from  pleasure  and  pain.  Because  '■'  these  sense-contacts,  etc., 
have,  by  nature,  a  beginning  and  an  end,  therefore  they 
are  not  permanent.  Wherefore  do  thou  bravely  endure  f 
them,  heat  and  cold  &c.  ;  i.  e.,  give  not  thyself  up  to  joy  or 
grief  on  their  account. 

[Question)  : — What   good  will  accrue  to  him  who  bears 
heat  and  cold  and  the  like  ? 
[Answer) : — Listen. 

15.  That  wise  man  whom,  verily,  these  afflict 
not,  O  chief  of  men,  to  whom  pleasure  and  pain 
are  same,  he  for  immortality  is  fit. 

That  person  to  whom  pleasure  and  pain  are  alike, — who 
neither  exults  in  pleasure  nor  feels  dejected  in  pain, — who 
is  a  man  of  wisdom,  whom  heat  and  cold  and  other  things 
such  as  those  mentioned  above  do  not  affect  in_virtue_of  his 
vision  of  the  eternal  Self, — that  man,  firm  in  his  vision  of  the 
eternal  Self  and  bearing  calmly  the  pairs  of  opposites  (such 
as  heat  and  cold),  is  able  to  attain  immortality    (moksha).  | 

*  Some  MSS.  of  ths  Bhdshya  here  add: 
"It  may  be  objected  that  it  the  objects 
of  the  senses  or  their  contacts  give  plea- 
sure and  pain,  the  wheel  of  mundane 
existence  will  be  endless,  since  those  ob- 
jects and  their  contacts  with  the  senses 
are  endless.  This  objection  does  not 
apply  here,  for  these...', 

t  Here  is  laid  down  a  second  condi- 
tion of  right  knowledge,  vis.,  calm  endu- 
rance in  pleasure  .and  pain. — (\). 

;  Though  by  endurance  alone  one  may 
not  be  able  to  secure  the  highest  human 
end,  still,  when  coupled  with  discrimina- 
tion and  indiflercnce  to  worldy  objects 
and  pleasures,  it  becomes  a  means  to  the 
right  knowledge,  which  leads  to  deliver- 
ance. He  who  has  satisfied  all  the 
conditions  laid  down  can  realize  the 
nature  of  his  own  eternal  Self,  and  then 
only  is  he  fit  for  the  final  teaching  that 
leads  to  deliverance. — (A), 


15 — 16]  SANKHYA-YOGA.  27 

The  Real  and  the  Unreal. 

For  the  following  reason  also  it  is  proper  that  thou 
shouldst  abandon  grief  and  distressful  delusion  and  calmly 
endure  heat  and  cold,  etc.     For, 

16.  Of  tiio  unreal  no  being  there  is  ;  there  is 
no  non-being  of  the  real.  Of  both  these  is  the 
truth  seen  by  the  ssers  of  the  Essence. 

There  is  no  bhava — no  being,  no  existence — of  the 
unreal  (asat)  such  as  heat  and  cold  as  well  as  their  causes. 
Heat,  cold,  etc.,  and  the  causes  thereof,  which  are  (no  doubt) 
perceived  through  the  organs  of  perception,  are  not  absolute- 
ly real  (vastu-sat) ;  for,  they  are  effects  or  changes  (vikara), 
and  every  change  is  temporary.  For  instance,  no  objective 
form,  such  as  an  earthen  pot,  presented  to  consciousness 
by  the  eye,  proves  to  be  real,  because  it  is  not  perceived 
apart  from  clay.  Thus  every  effect  is  unreal,  because  it 
is  not  perceived  as  distinct  from  its  cause.  Every  effect, 
such  as  a  pot,  is  unreal,  also  because  it  is  not  perceived 
before  its  production  and  after  its  destruction.""  And  likewise 
the  cause,  such  as  clay,  is  unreal  because  it  is  not  perceived 
apart  from  its  cause,  f 

(  Objection  )  : — Then  it  comes  to  this :  nothing  at  all 
exists.  § 

{Ajisiciey)  : — No  (such  objection  applies  here).  For,  every 
fact  of  experience  involves  twofold  consciousness   (buddhij. 

*  Cp.     '  Whatsvei- exists  not  in  the  be-  fore  ths  perception  of  the  series  of  causes 

ginning  or  in  the  end  exists  not  really   In  and  effects  must   be   illusory. — (A). 

the  present.'   (Gaudap.ldakariktts  on  the  §  The   objector   evidently     thinks   that 

Miindiikya-upanishad.    IV,  31).— (A).  there  cannot  be  a  thing  which  is   neither 

+  This  implies  that  the  Absolute  Reality  a  ca\iso  nor  an   effect, 
is  not  conditioned  by  causality ;  and  there- 


the  consciousness  of  the  real  (sat)  and  the  consciousness  of 
the  unreal  (asat).  Now  that  is  (said  to  be)  real,  of  which 
our  consciousness  never  fails ;  and  that  to  be  unvcal,  of 
which  our  consciousness  fails.  ■'■  Thus  the  distinction  of 
reality  and  unreality  depends  on  our  consciousness.  Now, 
in  all  our  experience,  twofold  consciousness  arises  with 
reference  to  one  and  the  same  substratum  (samanadhikarana), 
as,  '  a  cloth  existent,'  '  a  pot  existent,'  '  an  elephant 
existent ' — not  as  in  the  expression  '  a  blue  lotus  '  § — and 
so  on  everywhere.  Of  the  two,  *the  consciousness  of  pot, 
&c.,  is  temporary  as  was  already  pointed  out,  but  not 
the  consciousness  of  existence.  Thus,  the  object  corres- 
ponding to  our  consciousness  of  pot,  &c.,  is  unreal,  because 
the  consciousness  is  temporary  ;  but  what  corresponds  to 
our  consciousness  of  existence  is  not  unreal,  because  the 
consciousness  is  unfailing. 

{Objection)  : — When  the  pot  is   absent  and  the  conscious- 
ness of  it  fails,  the  consciousness  of  existence  also  fails. 

*  There  mast  be  an  Absolute  Reality  not  two  distinct  realities,  related  to  each 
which  is  neither  a  cause  nor  an  effect.  other  as  the  universal  and  the  particulars, 
For,  what  is  fleeting  must  be  unreal,  and  or  as  a  substance  and  its  attribute.  If 
what  is  constant  must  be  real.  In  the  the  pot,  &c.,  were  as  real  as  existence 
case  of  our  illusory  perception  of  a  rope  we  should  be  at  a  loss  to  explain  why, 
mistaken  for  a  snake,  we  hold  that  the  with  reference  to  one  and  the  same  sub- 
snake  is  unreal  because  our  conscious-  stratum,  the  two — existence  and  the  pot 
ness  of  it  fails,  whereas  what  corresponds  or  the  like— should  always  present  them- 
to  "this"  in  the  perception  "this  is  a  selves  togsther  to  our  consciousness  any 
snake," — viz.,  the  rope, — is  real,  because  more  than  a  pot  and  a  cloth.  Illusion, 
our  consciousness  of  it  is  constant  on  the  other  hand,  can  account  for  the 
through  all  its  illusory  manifestations.  twofold  consciousness  of  existence  and 
The  reality  and  the  unreality  of  things  the  pot  and  so  on,  arising  with  reference 
are  thus  to  be  inferred  from  our  own  jg  g^g  ^^j  jj^j  sa^^o  substratum,  there 
experience.  being  only  ono     Reality — namely,   that 

§  blue  and    lotus  being  two    realities.  which  corresponds  to  existence — and  all 

Existence  and  the  pot  refer — as  in   the  the  rest  being  unreal,  as  in   the   case   of 

sentence  '  this   is  tha  man  we  saw' — to  a  rope  mistaken  for  various  other    things 

only  one  thing  really  existing.    They  are  which  are  unreal. — (A), 


l6]  SANKIIYA-VOGA.  29 

(AnsKier)  : — No  '•■  (such  objection  applies  liere).  For  the 
consciousness  of  existence  still  arises  with  reference  to 
other  objects  such  as  cloth.  The  consciousness  of  existence 
corresponds  indeed  only  to  the  attributive  (visesha/^a). 

{Ohjecfion)  :~L.ike  the  consciousness  of  existence,  the 
consciousness  of  the  pot  also  arises  with  reference  to  another 
pot  (present). 

{Answer)  : — You  cannot  say  so,  for  the  consciousness  of 
the  pot  does  not  arise  with  reference  to  a  cloth. 

{Objection)  : — Neither  does  the  consciousness  of  existence 
arise  in  the  case  of  the  pot  that  has  disappeared. 

[AnsK'er)  : — You  cannot  say  so,  for  there  is  no  substantive 
(viseshya)  present.  The  consciousness  of  existence  corres- 
ponds to  the  attributive  ;  and  as  there  can  be  no  conscious- 
ness of  the  attributive  without  that  of  the  corresponding 
substantive,  how  can  the  consciousness  of  the  attributive 
arise  in  the  absence  of  the  substantive  ? — Not  that  there  is 
no  objective  reality  present,  corresponding  to  the  conscious- 
ness of  existence. 

{Objection)  : — If  the  substantive  such  as  the  pot  be  unreal, 
twofold  consciousness  arising  with  reference  to  one  and 
the  same  substratum  is  inexplicable.^ 

{Ansic'cr)  : — No;  for,  we  find  the  twofold  consciousness 
arising  with  reference  to  one  and  the  same  substratum,  even 
though  one  of  the  two  objects  corresponding  to  the  twofold 
consciousness  is   unreal,  as  for  instance  in   the    case  of  a 

*  The  consciousness  of  existence  still  §  The  objector  means  this:  In    all  our 

arises  in  conjunction  with  the  abssnce  of  experience,   we    find  both     substantive 

the  pot.    When  we  say  '  here  is   no  pot,'  and  the  attributive  to  be  real.     So,  here, 

existence  is  signified  by  reference  to  the  the  pot  must  be  as  real  as  existence. — (A) 
place  where  the  pot  is  said  to  be  absent. 


mirage,  where  our  consciousness  takes  the  form  "  this  is 
water."  Therefore,  there  is  no  existence  of  the  unreal,  the 
fictitious — such  as  the  body  and  the  pairs  of  opposites — 
or  of  their  causes.  Neither  does  the  real — the  Self 
(Atman) — ever  cease  to  exist ;  for,  as  already  pointed  out, 
our  consciousness  of  the  Self  never  fails. 

This  conclusion — that  the  real  is  ever  existent  and  the 
unreal  is  never  existent — regarding  the  two,  the  Self  and 
the  non-Self,  the  real  and  the  vmreal,  is  always  present 
before  the  minds  of  those  who  attend  only  to  truth,  to 
the  real  nature  of  the  Brahman,  the  Absolute,  the  All, 
'  That'.  Thou  hadst  therefore  better  follow  the  view  of  such 
truth-seers,  shake  off"  grief  and  delusion,  and.  being  assured 
that  all  phenomena  (vikaras)  are  really  non-existent  and 
are,  like  the  mirage,  mere  fagle  appearances,  do  thou  calmly 
bear  heat  and  cold  and  other  pairs  of  opposites,  of  which 
some  are  constant  and  others  inconstant  in  their  nature  as 
productive  of  pleasure  or  pain. 

What,  then,  is  that  which  is  ever  real  ?     Listen  :  — 

17.  But  know  that  to  be  imperishable  by  which  all 
this  is  pervaded.  None  can  cause  the  destruction 
of  That,  the  Inexhaustible. 

Unlike  the  unreal,  That — you  must  understand — does  not 
vanish  ;  That,  the  Brahman,  the  'Sat',  the  Real,  by  which  all 
this  world,  including  the  akasa,  is  pervaded,  just  as  pots  and 
other  objects  are  pervaded  by  the  iikasa  or  space.  Brahman 
does  not  undergo  increase  or  diminution  and  is  therefore 
inexhaustible.  This  Brahman,  the  '  Sat ',  is  not  exhausted 
in  Itself ;  for,  unlike  the  body  It  has  no  parts.  Nor  does  It 
diminish  by  (loss  of)  anything  belonging  to  It ;  for,  nothing 

l6 — 18]  S\NKHYA-YOGA.  31 

belongs  to  the  Self.  Devadatta,  for  instance,  is  ruined  by 
loss  of  wealth  ;  but  Brahman  does  not  suffer  loss  in  that 
way.  Wherefore,  nobody  can  bring  about  the  disappear- 
ance or  destruction  of  the  inexhaustible  Brahman.  No- 
body— not  even  the  Isvara,  the  Supreme  Lord — can  destroy 
the  Self.  For,  the  Self  is  Brahman  Itself,  and  one  cannot 
act  upon  oneself. 

What,  then,  is  the  unreal  (asat),  whose  existence  is  not 
constant  ?     Listen  : 

18.  These  bodies  of  the  embodied  (Self)  who  is 
eternal,  indestructible  and  unknowable,  are  said  to 
have  an  end.  Do  fight^  therefore,  O  descendant  of 

It  is  said  by  the  enlightened  that  these  bodies  of  the  Self, 
who  is  eternal,  indestructible  and  unknowable,  have  an  end, 
like  those  seen  in  dreams  or  produced  by  a  juggler. — The  end 
of  such  objects  as  the  mirage  consists  in  the  cessation — as  the 
result  of  investigation  into  their  nature  by  proper  tests  of 
truth — of  the  idea  of  reality  which  has  been  associated  with 
them.     So  also  these  bodies  have  an  end. 

[No  tautology  is  involved  in  the  use  of  both  '  eternal '  and 
'  indestructible  ;'  for,  two  kinds  of  eternality  and  of  destruc- 
tion are  met  with  in  our  experience.  The  physical  body, 
for  instance,  entirely  disappearing  when  reduced  to  ashes,  is 
said  to  have  been  destroyed.  The  physical  body,  while  exist- 
ing as  such,  may  be  transformed  owing  to  sickness  or  such 
other  causes,  and  it  is  then  said  to  have  ceased  to  be  (some- 
thing) and  to  have  become  (something  else).  "Eternal" 
and  '  indestructible  '  here  imply  that  the  Self  is  subject  to 
neither  sort   of   destruction.     Otherwise,  the  eternality  of 

3^  THE  bhagavad-gItA  [Dis.  II. 

Atman,  the  Self,  might  perhaps  be  understood  to  be  like 
that  of  clay  or  other  material  objects.  It  is  the  denial  of 
this  which  is  conveyed  by  the  two  epithets.] 

The  Self  is  unknowable, — not  determinable  by  the  senses 
(pratyaksha)  or  any  other  means  of  knowledge. 

[Objection)  : — The  Self  is  determined  by  the  Agama  or 
Revelation,  and  by  perception  &c.  prior  to  Revelation, 

{Answcy) : — The  objection  is  untenable,  for  the  Self  is 
self-determind  (svatas-siddha).  When  the  Self,  the  knower 
(pramatn),  has  been  determined,  then  only  is  possible  a 
search  for  proper  authorities  on  the  part  of  the  knower  with 
a  view  to  obtain  right  knowledge.  In  fact,  without  deter- 
mining the  Self — '  I  am  I  ' — -none  seeks  to  determine  the 
knowable  objects.  Indeed  the  Self  is  unknown  (aprasiddha) 
to  nobody.  And  the  Scripture  (Sastra)  which  is  the  iinar'' 
authority  obtains  its  authoritativeness  regarding  the  Self,  as 
serving  only  to  eliminate  the  adhyaropa/^a  or  superimposi- 
tion  (on  the  Self)  of  the  attributes  §  alien  to  Him,  but  not 
as  revealing  what  has  been  altogether  unknown.  The  sruti 
also  describes  the  Self  thus  : — 

"  That  which  is  the  Immediate,  the  Unremote,  the 
Brahman,  which  is  the  Self,  which  is  within  all." 
(Bn.  Up.  ii.  4.  i). 

Because  the  Self  is  thus  eternal  (nitya)  and  immutable 
(avikriya),  therefore,  do  thou  fight, — do  not  abstain  from 

*  i.  e.,  the  last.     The  Sruti  teaches  that  reahsation  of  this  truth   taught    by   the 

the  Seh'is  the  only  real  thing  and  that  all,  sruti.— (A) 

others    are^   illusory    and    non-existent.  §  Such  as  humanity  and  agency. 

No  pramana  or  authority  can  survive  the 

l8 — 19]  SANKHYA-YOGA.  33 

Here  the  duty  of  fighting  is  not  enjoined.  Arjuna  had 
already  been  engaged  in  lighting.  But  overpowered  by 
grief  and  dehision  he  abstained  from  fighting.  It  is  only 
the  removal  of  obstructive  causes  (pratibandha,  viz.,  grief 
and  delusion)  that  is  here  attempted  by  the  Lord.  Where- 
fore in  the  words  '  do  thou  fight  '  the  Lord  issues  here  no 
new  command  (vidhi)  ;  He  only  refers  to  what  is  commonly 
known  already.  ■■'• 

The  Self  is  unconcerned  in  action. 

The  Lord  now  quotes  two  Vedic  verses  to  confirm  the 
view  that  the  Gita-5astra  is  intended  to  remove  the  cause  of 
sawsara,  such  as  grief  and  delusion,  but  not  to  enjoin 

It  is  only  a  false  notion  of  yours,  says  the  Lord,  that 
you  think  thus :  "  Bhishma  and  others  will  be  killed  by  me 
in  the  battle  ;  I  will  be  their  slayer." — How  ? — 

ig.     Whoever  looks  upon   Him  as  the  slayer, 
and  whoever   looks  upon   Him  as  the  slain,    both 
these  know  not    aright.     He  slays   not,  nor  is  He 

He  who  understands  the  Self — of  whom  we  are  speak- 
ing— as  the  agent  in  the  act  of  slaying,  and  he  who  regards 
Him  as  the  sufferer  in  the  act  of  slaying  when  the  body 
is  slain,  neither  of  these  two  has  understood  the  Self  aright, 
for  want  of  discrimination.  Those  who  think  '  I  slay '  or 
'  I  am  slain  '  when  the  body  is  slain,  and  thus  identify  the 
Self  with  the  object  of  the  consciousness  of  'I,'  the  ego 
(ahani), — they  do  not  understand  the  real  nature  of  the  Self. 

*  That  is  to  say,  the  Lord  does  not  here        had  no  reason  to  desist  from  the  fightin<: 
mean  that  fighting  is  absolutely  neces-        in  which  he  had  engaged  of  himself. 
sary.    He  has  simply  shewn  that  Arjuna 

34  THE    BHAGAVAD-GiTA.  [DlS.    II, 

Being  immutable  (avikriya),  the  Self  is  neither   the   agent 
nor  the  object  of  the  action  of  slaying. 

The  Self  is  immutable. 

How  is   the  Self  immutable  ? — This  is  answered   by  the 
n3xt  verse  : 

20.  He  is  not  born,  nor  does  He  ever  die  ;  after 
having  been,  He  again  ceases  not  to  be ;  nor  the  re- 
verse. Unborn,  eternal,  unchangeable  and  primeval, 
He  is  not  slain  when  the  body  is  slain. 

He  is  not  born  ;  no  such  change  of  condition  as  birth 
takes  place  in  the  Self.  Nor  does  He  die  :  this  denies  the 
last  change  of  condition  called  death. — *  Ever  '  should  be 
construed  with  the  denial  of  every  change,  thus :  He  is  never 
born,  never  dies,  and  so  on. — For,  the  Self,  having  once  ex- 
isted, does  not  afterwards  cease  to  be  any  more.  In  ordinary 
parlance  he  is  said  to  die  who,  having  once  existed,  after- 
wards ceases  to  be.  Neither  does  the  Self  come  into 
existence,  like  the  body,  having  not  existed  before.  Where- 
fore He  is  unborn.  For,  he  is  said  to  be  born  who,  having 
not  existed,  comes  into  existence.  Not  so  is  the  Self. 
Wherefore  He  is  unborn.  .\nd  because  He  does  not  die, 
He  is  eternal.  [Though,  by  the  denial  of  the  first  and  the 
last  changes,  all  changes  have  been  denied,  yet  it  is  thought 
necessary  to  .directly  deny  the  intermediate  changes,  in  the 
words  '  unchangeable,'  &c.,  so  as  to  imply  the  absence  of 
all  such  changes  of  condition  as  motion,  though  not  specified 
here.]  He  is  unchangeable  :  He  is  constant,  not  subject 
to  the  change  of  condition  known  as  decline  (  apakshaya  ). 
Having  no  parts,  He   does  not  diminish    in  His  own  sub- 

ig — 21  ]  SAN'KHYA-VOGA.  35 

stance.  As  devoid  of  qualities,  He  does  not  diminish  by 
loss  of  a  quality.  He  is  primeval,  not  subject  to  the  change 
known  as  growth  (vrlddhi)  as  opposed  to  decline.  For,  that 
which  increases  in  size  by  the  accretion  of  parts  is  said  to 
grow  and  to  be  renewed.  As  devoid  of  parts,  the  Self  was 
as  fresh  in  the  past  (as  He  is  now  or  will  be  in  future  ;  i.  c. 
He  is  ever  the  same)  ;  He  never  grows.  And  He  is  not 
slain  when  the  body  is  slain  :  He  is  not  transformed  when 
the  body  is  transformed. — To  avoid  tautology,  slaying  is 
interpreted  to  mean  transformation  :  the  Self  is  not  subject 
to  transformation. 

This  verse  teaches  the  absence  in  the  Self  of  the  six  * 
bhava-vikaras, — of  the  six  vikdvas  or  changes  of  condition 
to  which  all  hhavas  or  beings  in  the  world  are  subject.  The 
passage,  on  the  whole,  means  that  the  Self  is  devoid  of  all 
sorts  of  change.  Hence  the  words  in  the  previous  verse, 
"  both  these  know  not  aright." 

The  enlightened  man  has  to  renounce  works. 

Having  started  (in  ii.  19)  the  proposition  that  the  Self  is 
neither  the  agent  nor  the  object  of  the  action  of  slaying,  and 
having  stated  in  the  next  verse  the  immutability  of  the  Self 
as  the  reason  for  that  statement,  the  Lord  concludes  the 
proposition  as  follows  ; — - 

21.  Whoso  knows  Him  as  indestructible,  eter- 
nal, unborn  and  inexhaustible, — How,  O  son  of 
Pritha,  and  whom,  does  such  a  man  cause  to  slay, 
and  whom  does  he  slay  ? 

*  Such   as     birth,  existence,  growth,   transformation,  decline,   and  destruction. 

36  THE    BHAGAVAD-gItA.  [DiS.    II. 

He  who  knows  the  Self  (described  in  the  last  verse)  as 
indestructible,  i.e.,  devoid  of  the  final  change  called  death, 
as  eternal,  i.e.,  devoid  of  change  called  transformation,  as 
unborn  and  inexhaustible,  i.e.,  devoid  of  birth  and  decline, — 
how  does  an  enlightened  man  of  this  description  do  the  act 
of  slaying,  or  how  does  he  cause  another  to  slay  ?  He  slays 
nobody  at  all,  nor  does  he  at  all  cause  another  to  slay. — In 
both  the  places,  denial  is  meant,  since  no  question  can  have 
been  asked."  The  reason  f  for  the  denial  of  slaying  apply- 
ing to  all  actions  alike,  what  the  Lord  means  to  teach  in 
this  section  appears  to  be  the  denial  of  all  action  whatso- 
ever in  the  case  of  the  enlightened  ;  the  denial,  however,  of 
the  specific  act  of  slaying  being  only  meant  as  an  example. 

{Objection)  : —  What  special  reason  for  the  absence  of 
action  in  the  case  of  an  enlightened  man  does  the  Lord  see 
Avhen  denying  actions  in  the  words  "  how  does  such  a  man 
slay  ?  " 

[Ansiver)  : — The  immutability  of  the  Self  has  already 
been  given  as  the  reason  for  the  absence  of  all  actions. 

[Objection)  : — True,  it  has  been  given  ;  but  that  cannot 
be  a  sufficient  reason,  since  the  enlightened  man  is  distinct 
from  the  immutable  Self.  We  cannot  indeed  say  that  a 
man  who  has  known  an  immovable  pillar  can  have  no 
action  to  do. 

{Answer J: — This  objection  does  not  apply.  For,  the 
enlightened  man  is  identical  with  the  Self.  Enlightenment 
(vidvattrt)  does  not  pertain  to  the  aggregate  of  the  body,  etc. 
Therefore,  as  the  only  other  alternative,  the  enlightened 
man  should  be  identical  with  the  Self,  who  is  not   included 

*  Because  no  reply  follows.  f  ij;.,  the  immutability  of  the  Self, 

2l]  SANKHYA-YOGA.  37 

in  the  aggregate  and  is  immutable.  No  action  being  possible 
in  the  case  of  an  enlightened  man,  it  is  but  just  to  deny   all 
action  in  the  words  "  how  does  sucli  a  man    slay  ?"     Now, 
for  instance,  the  Self,  while   remaining   immutable,  is,  by 
reason    of   His  not    being   distinguished    from    intellectual 
states  (buddhi-vnttis),  imagined,  through  ignorance,  to  be 
the  percipient  of  objects,  such  as  sound,  perceived  by   the 
intellect  and  other  means.     Similarly,  the  Self  is   imagined 
to   be   enlightened,  merely   because   of  avidyrt  associating 
Him  with  that  intellectual    perception — which    is   unreal — 
which  takes  the   form   of   discrimination  between    the   Self 
and  the  not-Self,  while  in  reality  the  Self  has  undergone  no 
change  whatever.     From  this  assertion  of   impossibility    of 
action  in  the  case  of  an  enlightened  man,  the    conclusion  of 
the  Lord  is  evident,  that  those  acts  which  are  enjoined    by 
the  scripture  are  intended  for  the  unenlightened. 

Works  are  meant  for  the  unenlightened. 

{Objection)  : — Even  knowledge  is  intended  for  the  unen- 
lightened only,  as  it  would  be  useless — like  grinding  the 
flour  over  again — to  impart  knowledge  to  those  who  already 
possess  it.  Wherefore,  it  is  hard  to  explain  the  distinction 
that  works  are  meant  for  the  unenlightened,  and  not  for  the 

(Ansji/er)  : — This  objection  does  not  apply.  For,  the 
distinction  can  be  explained  by  the  existence  or  non-exis- 
tence of  something  to  be  performed  in  the  two  cases  respec- 
tively. (To  explain)  :  There  remains  something  for  the  un- 
enlightened man  to  do,  on  understanding  the  meaning  of 
the  injunctions  regarding  the  Agnihotra  &c.  He  thinks 
that  the   Agnihotra   and   other   sacrificial   rites  are  to   be 

38  THE    BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.     II. 

performed,  and  that  the  many  necessary  accessories  thereto 
should  be  acquired.  He  thinks  further,  "  I  am  the  agent, 
'  this  is  my  duty."  Nothing,  on  the  contrary,  remains  to 
be  performed  subsequent  to  the  reahzation  of  the  truth  of 
such  teachings  as  are  contained  in  ii.  20  etc.,  regarding  the, 
real  nature  of  the  Self.  No  other  conviction  arises  except 
that  the  Self  is  one  and  non-agent.  Wherefore,  the  distinc- 
tion referred  to  can  bs  accounted  for. 

In  the  case  of  him  who  thinks  that  the  Self  is  the  doer 
of  actions,  there  will  necessarily  arise  the  idea  that  he  has 
this  or  that  thing  to  do.  A  man  who  possesses  this  sort  of 
knowledge  is  qualified  for  actions,  and  on  him  actions  are 
enjoined.  Such  a  man  is  unenlightened,  for  it  is  said  that 
"both  these  know  not  aright"  (ii.  19).  In  ii.  21,  the  enlighten- 
ed man  is  specified,  and  with  reference  to  him  actions  are 
denied  in  the  words  "  how  does  such  a  man  slay  ?"  There- 
fore the  enlightened  man  who  has  seen  the  immutable  Self 
and  the  nian  who  is  eager  for  emancipation  have  only  to 
renounce  all  works.  '■'■'■  Hence  it  is  that  Lord  Naraya»a 
distinguishes  the  enlightened  Sankhyas  from  the  unenlight- 
ened followers  of  works,  and  teaches  to  them  respectively 
two  distinct  paths  (iii.  3).  Accordingly,  Vyasa  said  to  his 
son,  "Now  there  are  two  paths."  (Alokshadharma,  xxiv.  6). 
In  the  same  connection,  Vy^sa  said  that  the  path  of  works 
is  the  first,  and  that  renunciation  comes  next.  Our  Lord 
will  refer  to  this  distinction  again  and  again  in  this  work. 
{vide  iii.  27,  28  ;  v.  13,  &c.) 

*  The  latter,  i.  e.,  he  who  is  eager  for  the  acts  enjoined  on  him,  these  acts 
Moksha,  but  who  does  not  yet  possess  being  not  prejudicial  to  his  de%'Otion  to 
Self-knowledge,  has  no  doubt  to  perform        knowledge. 


2l]  SANKHYA-YOGA.  39 

Knowledge  of  the  Immutable  Self  is  possible. 

[Objection]  : — In  this  connection  some  conceited  pedants 
say:  To  no  man  can  arise  the  conviction  'I  am  the 
immutable  Self,  the  One,  the  non-agent,  devoid  of  the  six 
changes,  such  as  birth,  to  which  all  things  in  the  world 
are  subject  ; '  which  conviction  arising,  renunciation  of  all 
works  is  enjoined. 

[Ansioci'): — This  objection  does  not  apply  here.  For,  in 
vain  then  would  be  the  Scriptural  teaching,  such  as  "the  Self 
is  not  born,"  &c.  (ii.  20).  They  (the  objectors)  may  be  asked 
why  knowledge  of  the  immutability,  non-agency,  unity, 
&c.,  of  the  Self  cannot  be  produced  by  the  Scripture  in  the 
same  way  as  knowledge  of  the  existence  of  dhavma  and 
a-dharma  and  of  the  doer  passing  through  other  births  is 
produced  by  the  teaching  of  the  Scripture  ? 

[Opponent)  : — Because  the  Self  is  inaccessible  to  any  of 
the  senses. 

[Answer)  : — Not  so.  For,  the  Scripture  says  "  It  can  be 
seen  by  the  mind  alone."  [Bi'i.  Up.  iv,  4,  19).  The  mind, 
refined  by  Sama  and  Dama — /.  e.,  by  the  subjugation  of 
the  body,  the  mind  and  the  senses — and  equipped  with  the 
teachings  of  the  Scripture  and  the  Teacher,  constitutes  the 
sense  by  which  the  Self  may  be  seen.  Thus,  while  the 
Scripture  and  inference  ■•'•  (anumiina)  teach  the  immuta- 
bility of  the  Self,  it  is  mere  temerity  to  hold  that  no  such 
knowledge  can  arise. 

*  The   inference  may  be   thus  stated  :        more  than  Infancy,  youth  and  old  age  are 
such  changes  as  birth,  death,  agency  and        inherent  in  Him. 
the  like  arc  not  inherent  in  tlic   Sclf.any 

40  THE    BHAGAVAD'GiTA.  [DiS.    11. 

The  enlightened  should  resort  to  Jnana-Yoga. 

It  must  be  granted  that  the  knowledge  which  thus  arises 
necessarily  dispels  ignorance,  its  opposite.  This  ignorance 
has  been  already  indicated  in  ii.  ig.  It  is  there  taught 
that  the  notion  that  the  Self  is  the  agent  or  the  object  of 
the  action  of  slaying  is  a  product  of  ignorance.  That 
the  agency,  &c.,  of  the  Self  is  a  product  of  ignorance  holds 
good  in  the  case  of  all  actions  alike,  since  the  Self  is  immu- 
table. It  is  only  the  agent,  subject  to  variations  of  condition, 
that  causes  another  person,  who  can  be  acted  on  by  him, 
to  do  an  action.  This  agency — direct  and  causative  with 
respect  to  all  actions  alike — Lord  Vasudeva  denies  in  ii.  21 
in  the  case  of  an  enlightened  man,  with  a  view  to  show 
that  the  enlightened  man  has  nothing  to  do  with  any  action 

[Question)  : — What,  then,  has  he  to  do  ? 

[Answer) : — This  has  been  already  answered  in  iii.  3,  that 
the  Sankhyas  should  resort  to  J»ana-Yoga  or  devotion  to 
knowledge.  So  also,  the  Lord  will  teach  renunciation  of  all 
works  in  the  words,  "Renouncing  all  actions  by  thought,  the 
self-controlled  man  rests  happily  in  the  nine-gated  city, — 
in  the  body — neither  acting  nor  causing  to  act  "  (v.  13). 

[Objection) : — Here  the  word  '  thought '  implies  that  there 
is  no  renunciation  of  the  acts  of  speech  and  body. 

[Answer):  — No,  for  there  is  the  qualification,  'all  actions.' 

[Objection): — The  renunciation  of  all  mental  acts  only  is 

[Answer) : — No.  Since  all  acts  of  speech  and  body  are 
preceded  by  mental  activity,  they  cannot  exist  when  the 
mind  is  inactive. 



{Objection)  : — Then,  let  him  renounce  all  other  acts  of 
mind  except  such  as  are  necessary  for  those  acts  of  speech 
and  body  which  are  enjoined  by  the  Scripture. 

(Aiisii'ei')  : — No,  for,  there  is  the  qualilication,  "neither 
acting  nor  causing  to  act." 

{Objection)  :— Then,  the  renunciation  of  all  actions,  here 
taught  by  the  Lord,  may  be  meant  for  the  dying  man,  not 
for  the  living  man. 

{Anszi'ey):—No;  for,  then,  the  qualilication  '  rests  in  the 
nine-gated  city — in  the  body  '  would  have  no  meaning. 
No  man  who  is  dying  can  by  giving  up  all  activity  be  said 
to  rest  in  the  body. 

( Objection ) : — Let  us  then  construe  the  passage  thus  : 
Neither  acting  nor  causing  another  to  act,  he,  the  disembodi- 
ed soul  of  the  enlightened  man,  deposits  (saw  +  nyas)  all 
activity  in  the  body  (/.  c.,  knows  that  all  activity  belongs  to 
the  body,  not  to  the  Sslf)  and  rests  happily.  Let  us  not, 
on  the  contrary,  construe,  as  you  ha\e  done,  '  he  rests  in 
the  body,'  &c. 

{Answer) : — No.  Everywhere  (in  thesruti  and  in  the  smriti) 
is  emphatically   asserted  that   the    Self  is   immutable.  "•' 

Moreover,  the  iict  of  resting  presupposes  a  place  to  rest   in, 

whereas  the  act    of   renunciation   does  not  presuppose  it. 

And  the  Sanskrit  verb  '  saw  +  nyas  '  means   '  to  renounce,' 

not    '  to  deposit.' 

Therefore,     the    Gita-Sastra   teaches    that    he   wlio    has 
acquired  a  knowledge  of  the  Self  should  resort  to  renuncia- 
tion only,  not  to  works.  Tiiis  w^  shall  show  here  and  there 
in  the  following  sections,  wherever  they  treat  of  the  Self. 

*  Wherefore  the  Self  cannot  be  the  agent  of  an  action. 

42  THE  BHAGAVAD-GiTA.  [DiS,    II. 

How  the  Self  is  immutable. 

To  return  to  the  immediate  subject.  It  has  been  stated 
that  the  Self  is  indestructible.  Like  what  is  He  indestructi- 
ble ?     Here  follows  the  answer  : 

22.  Just   as  a   man   casts  off   worn-out  clothes     " 
and  puts  on  others  which  are  new,  so  the  embodi- 
ed   (Self)   casts   off    worn-out    bodies   and    enters 
others   which  are  new. 

Just  as,  in  this  world,  a  man  casts  off  the  clothes  that 
have  been  worn-out  and  puts  on  others  which  are  new,  in 
the  same  manner,  like  the  man  (of  the  world),  the  embodied 
Self  abandons  old  bodies,  and,  with^-i'*-  undergoing  any 
change,  enters  others  which  are  new. 

Why  is  the  Self  quite  changeless  ?  The  Lord  says  : 

23.  Him,  weapons  cut  not  ;  Him,  fire  burns 
not,  and  Him,  water  wets  not;  Him,  wind  dries  not. 

Him,  i.  e.,  the  embodied  Self  of  whom  we  are  speaking, 
weapons,  such  as  swords,  do  not  cut.  As  He  has  no  parts, 
they  can  effect  no  division  of  Him  into  parts.  So,  hre  does 
not  burn  Him  :  even  fire  cannot  reduce  Him  to  ashes. 
Neither  does  water  wet  Him  ;  for,  the  power  of  water  lies 
in  disjoining  the  parts  of  a  thing  which  is  made  up  of  parts, 
by  wetting  it ;  and  this  cannot  take  place  in  the  partless 
Self.  So,  wind  destroys  an  object  containing  moisture, 
by  drying  it  up ;  but  even  wind  cannot  dry  up  the  Self. 


24.  He  cannot  be  cut,  nor  burnt,  nor  wetted, 
nor  dried  up.  He  is  everlasting,  all-pervading, 
stable,  firm,  and  eternal. 


22 — 25]  SANKIIVA-YOGA.  43 

Because  the  mutually  destructive  objects — namely, 
swords  and  the  like — cannot  destroy  the  Self,  therefore  He 
is  everlasting.  Because  everlasting,  He  is  all-pervading. 
Because  all-pervading,  He  is  stable  like  a  pillar.  Because 
stable,  the  Self  is  firm.  Wherefore  He  is  eternal,  not 
produced  out  of  any  cause,  not  new. 

Xo  charge  of  tautology  can  be  brought  against  the 
verses  (ii.  21-24)  o^  the  ground  that  in  ii.  20  the  eternality 
and  the  immutability  of  the  Self  have  been  taught  and  that 
what  has  been  said  regarding  the  Self  in  these  verses 
(ii.  21-24)  ^dds  nothing  to  what  was  taught  in  that  one 
verse, — something  being  repeated  verbatim,  and  something 
more  being  repeated  in  idea.  Since  the  Self  is  a  thing 
very  difficult  to  understand,  Lord  VAsudeva  again  and 
again  introduces  the  subject  and  describes  the  same  thing 
n  other  words,  so  that  in  some  way  or  other  the  truth  may 
be  grasped  by  the  intellect  of  the  mortals  (saw/sarins)  and 
thus  the  cessation  of  their  saw/sara  may  be  brought  about. 

No  room  for  grief. 


25.  He,  it  is  said,  is  unraanifest,  unthinkable 
and  unchangeable.  Wherefore,  knowing  Him  to 
be  such,  thou  hadst  better  grieve  not. 

As  the  Self  is  inaccessible  to  any  of  the  senses,  He  is  not 
manifest.  Wherefore,  He  is  unthinkable.  For,  that  alone 
which  is  perceived  by  the  senses  becomes  an  object  of 
thought.  Verily,  the  Self  is  unthinkable,  because  He  is 
inaccessible  to  the  senses.  He  is  unchangeable.  The  Self 
isquite  unlike  milk,  which,  mixed  with  buiter-milk,  can  be 
itiade  to  change  its  form.     He  is  changeless,  also   because 

44  THE    BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.lI. 

He  has  no  parts  ;  for,  whatever  has  no  parts  is  ne\er  found 
to  undergo  change.  Because  the  Self  is  changeless,  He  is 
unchangeable.  Therefore,  thus  understanding  the  Self, 
thou  hadst  better  not  grieve,  nor  think  that  thou  art  their 
slayer  and  tliat  they  are  slain  by  thee. 

Grariting  that  the  Self  is  not  everlasting,  the    Lord    pro- 
ceeds .• 

26.  But  even  if  thou  thinkest  of  Him  as  ever 
being  born  and  ever  dying,  even  then,  O  mighty- 
armed,  thou  oughtst  not  to  grieve  thus. 

Granting  that  the  Self — of  whom  we  are  speaking — is, 
according  to  the  popular  view,  again  and  again  born  when- 
ever a  body  comes  into  existence,  and  again  and  again  dead 
whene^■er  the  body  dies, — even  if  the  Self  were  so,  as  you 
think,  O  mighty-armed,  you  ought  not  to  grieve  thus  ; 
for,  death  is  inevitable  to  what  is  born  ;  and  birth  is  in- 
evitable to  what  is  dead. 


27.  To  that  whicli  is  born,  death  is  indeed 
certain;  and  to  that  which  is  dead,  birth  is  cer- 
tain. ^^'herefore,  about  the  unavoidable  thing, 
thou  oughtst  not  to  grieve. 

To  that  which  has  had  birth,  death  happens  without 
failure,  and  birth  is  sure  to  happen  to  that  which  is  dead. 
Since  birth  and  death  are  unavoidable,  therefore  you  ought 
not  to  grieve  regarding  such  an  unavoidable  thing.  If 
death  is  natural  to  that  which  has  had  birth,  and  if  birth  is 
natural  to  that  which  has  had  death,  the  thing  is  unavoid- 
able. Regarding  such  an  unavoidable  thing  you  ought  not 
to  grieve. 

25—29]  SAN  KliVA- YOGA.  .  ^5 

Neither  is  it  proper  to  f^rieve  regarding  beings  which    are 
mere  combinations  of  (material)  causes  and  effects  ;  for, 

28.  Beings  have  their  beginning  unseen,  their 
middle  seen,  and  their  end  unseen  again.  Why 
any  lamentation  regarding  them  ? 

The  origin — prior  to  manifestation — of  beings  such  as 
sons  and  friends,  who  are  mere  combinations  of  material 
elements  correlated  as  causes  and  effects,  is  non-perception 
(avyakta).  And  having  come  into  existence,  their  middle 
state — previous  to  death — is  perceived.  Again  their  end 
is  non-perception:  after  death,  they  become  unperceived 
again.     Thus  it  is  said  : 

"  He  has  come  from  non -perception  (the  unseen)  and 
has  gone  back  to  non-perception  (the  unseen).  He  is 
not  thine,  nor  thou  his.  What  is  this  vain  lamentation 
for  ?"     (^lahrtbh,  Str/parva.  2-13) 

About  these  mere    illusions — first    unseen,  then    seen,    and 
again  unseen — what  occasion  is  there  for  any  lamentation? 

The  Self  just  spoken  of  is  very  difficult  to  realise.     Why 
am  I  to  blame  you  alone  while  the  cause,  viz.,  illusion,    is 
common  to  all  ?     One  may  ask  :  how  is  it  that  the  Self  is 
•  difficult  to  realise  ?     The  Lord  says  : 

29,  One  sees  Him  as  a  wonder  ;  and  so  also 
another  speaks  of  Him  as  a  wonder;  and  as  a 
wonder  another  hears  of  Him  ;  and  though  hear- 
ing,  none  understands  Him  at  all. 

One  sees  the  Self  as  a  wonder,  as  a  thing  unseen,  as 
something  strange,  as  seen  all  on  a  sudden.  And  so, 
another  speaks   of  Him  as  a  wonder  ;  and  another  hears 

46  THE    BHAGAVAD-gItA.  [DiS.  II. 

of  Him    as  a  wonder.     Though   seeing  Him,   hearing  and 
speaking  of  Him,  none  reahses  Him  at  all. 

Or  (as  otherwise  interpreted)  :  He  that  sees  the  Self  is 
something  like  a  wonder.  He  that  speaks  and  he  that 
hears  of  Him  is  only  one  among  many  thousands.  Thus 
the  Self  is  hard  to  understand. 

Now  the  Lord  concludes  the  subject  of  this  section  thus: 

30.  He,  the  embodied  (Self)  in  every  one's 
bodv,  can  ^c^■er  be  killed,  O  descendant  of  Bha- 
rata.  Wherefore  thou  oughtst  not  to  grieve  about 
any  creature. 

Though  the  body  of  any  creature  whatever  is  killed,  the 
Self  cannot  bs  killed  ;  wherefore,  you  ought  not  to  grieve 
regarding  any  creature  whatever,  Bhishma  or  anybody 

A  warrior  should  fight. 

Here  (in  ii.  30)  it  has  been  shown  that  from  the  stand- 
point of  absolute  truth  there  is  no  occasion  for  grief  and 
attachment.  Not  only  from  the  standpoint  of  absolute 
truth,  but  also, 

31.  Having  regard  to  thine  own  duty  also,  thou 
oughtst  not  to  waver.  For,  to  a  Kshatriya,  there 
is  nothing  more  wholesome  than  a  lawful  battle. 

Having  regard  also  to  the  fact  that  fighting  is  a  Kshatri- 
ya's  duty,  you  ought  not  to  swerve  from  that  duty,  which 
is  natural  to  a  Kshatriya, — from  that  which  is  natural  to 
you  (/.  c,  becoming  the  caste  and  the  order  to  which  you 
belong).  This  fighting  is  a  supreme  duty,  not  opposed  to 
Law,  since  it  is  conducive,  through  conquest  of  dominion, 

29 — 34l  SAN  KHYA- YOGA.  47 

to  the  interests  of  Law  and  popular  well-being  ;  and  to  a 
Ksliatriya  nothing  else  is  more  wholesome  than  such  a  law- 
ful battle. 

And  why  also  should  the  battle  be  fought  ?  The  Lord 
says  : 

32.  Happy  Kshatrix'as,  O  son  of  Pritha,  find 
such  a  battle  as  this,  come  of  itself,  an  open  door 
to  heaven. 

Are  not  those  Kshatriyas  happy  who  find   a   battle   like 
this  presenting  itself  unsought,  an  open  door  to  heaven  ? 
Though  found  to  be  your  duty, 

•ij.  Now  if  thou  wouldst  not  fight  this  lawful 
battle,  then,  having  abandoned  thine  own  duty  and 
fame,  thou  shalt  incur  sin. 

If,  on  the  other  hand,  you  will  not  fight  this  battle 
which  is  enjoined  on  you  as  a  duty,  and  which  is  not 
opposed  to  Law,  you  will,  by  neglecting  this  battle,  have 
abandoned  your  duty  and  lost  the  fame  that  you  acquired 
by  your  encounter  with  such  persons  as  Mahadeva."  Thus 
you  will  only  incur  sin. 

Not  only  will  you  have  given  up  your  duty  and  fame, 
but  also, 

34.  People,  too,  will  recount  thy  everlasting 
infamy  ;  and,  to  one  who  has  been  esteemed, 
infamv  is  more  than  death. 

*  When  Vudhish/hira  lost  his  kingdom  appeared  in  the  guise  of  a  mountaineer 

by  gambling.    Arjuna  went  on   a  pilgrj-  (  Kirita  ^,    and,    havi.:g  found   the   true 

"i.ige  to  the  Himalayas  to  propitiate   the  characterof  his  adversary,  he  worshipped 

ds  and  obtain  from  them  celestial  wca-  Him  ai;d  obtained  thu    Paiupatd  astra 

pocs.    There  he  fought  with  5iva  who  a  celestial  missile. 


People,  too,  will  recount  your  infamy,  which  will  survive 
you  long.  To  him  who  has  bsen  esteemed  as  a  hero  and  as 
a  righteous  man  and  as  one  possessing  other  such  noble 
qualities,  death  is  preferable  to  infamy. 


35  The  great  car-warriors  will  think  thou  hast 
withdrawn  from  the  battle  through  fear ;  and, 
having  been  (hitherto)  highly  esteemed  by  them, 
thou    wilt  incur  their  contempt. 

Duryodhana  and  others — warriors  fighting  in  great  cars — • 
will  think  that  you  have  withdrawn  from  the  battle  through 
fear  of  Kama  and  others,  but  not  through  compassion. — Who 
are  they  that  will  think  so? — The  very  persons,  Duryodhana 
and  others,  by  whom  you  have  been  esteemed  as  possessed 
of  many  noble  qualities.  Having  been  thus  esteemed,  you 
will  again  grow  very  small  (in  their  estimation). 


36  Thy  enemies,  too,  scorning  thy  power,  will 
talk  many  abusive  words.  What  is  more  painful 
than  that  ? 

There  is  no  pain  more  unbearable  than  that  of  scorn  thus 

Now,  when  you  fight  with   Kar//a  and  others, 

37.  Killed,  thou  wilt  reach  heaven  ;  victorious, 
thou  wilt  enjoy  the  earth.  Wherefore,  O  son  of 
Kunti,  arise,  resolved  to  fight. 

Victorious  :  that  is,  having  defeated  Kar;;a  and  other  heroes. 
In  either  case  you  will  have  an  advantage  only.  Wherefore 
rise,  with  the  resolution   "  I  will  conquer  the  enemy  or  die." 

34 — 39]  SANKMYA-VOGA.  49 

Now  listen  to  the  advic3  I  off^r  to  yo.i,  while  you  fight 
the  battle  regarding  it  as  a  duty  : 

38.  Then,  treating  alike  pleasure  and  pain,  gain 
and  loss,  success  and  defeat,  prepare  for  the  battle, 
and  thus  wilt  thou  not  incur  sin. 

Treating  alike  pleas'.iye  and  pain:  i.e.,  without  liking  the 
one  and  disliking  the  other.  Thus  fighting,  you  will  not 
incur  sin.    [This  injunction  as  to  fighting  is  only  incidental.] 

Yoga.  ^ 

Worldly  considerations  have  been  adduced  (ii.  31 — 38)  to 
dispel  grief  and  attachment ;  but  they  do  not  form  the  main 
subject  of  teaching.  On  the  other  hand,  it  is  the  realisation 
of  the  Supreme  Reality  that  forms  the  main  subject  of  this 
portion  (ii.  12,  &c.)  of  the  discourse;  and  this,  which  has 
been  treated  of  already  (ii.  20  ct  seq.),  is  concluded  in  ii.  39 
with  a  view  to  exhibit  the  division  of  the  whole  subject  of 
the  5astra.  For,  by  making  such  a  division  of  the  whole 
subject  of  the  sastra  as  has  been  shewn  here,  that  portion 
of  the  work  which  will  treat  of  the  two  paths  later  on  (iii.  3) 
will  proceed  the  more  smoothly;  and  the  hearers  also  will 
understand  it  the  more  easily  for  this  division  of  the  whole 
subject.     Hence  says  the  Lord  : 

39.  This,  which  has  been  taught  to  thee,  is 
wisdom  concerning  Sankhya.  Now,  listen  to 
wisdom  concerning  Yoga,  which  possessing  thou 
shalt  cast  off  the  bond  of  action. 

This,  which  has  been  taught  to  you,  constitutes  wisdom 
(buddhi)  concerning  Sankhya  or  the  true  nature  of  the 
Absolute  Reality,— that  wisdom  by  which  may  be   brought 


^O  THE    BHAGAVAD-GiTA.  [DiS.    II" 

about  the  cessation  of  the  evil  "  which  is  the  cause  of 
sa;«sara,— of  grief,  attachment,  and  the  like.  Now,  listen 
to  the  teaching  (which  follows  presently)  concerning  Yoga, 
which  is  the  means  of  attaining  wisdom  concerning  San- 
khya  :  this  Yoga,  which  constitutes  the  worship  of  Isvara, 
consists  in  practising  samadhi  or  m  performing  works  with- 
out attachment,  after  killing  all  pairs  of  opposites  (such 
as  heat  and  cold). 

Now  He  extols  the  wisdom  concerning  Yoga,  in  order 
to  create  an  interest  in  it.- — -When  possessed  of  wisdom 
concerning  Yoga,  O  son  of  Pntha,  you  will  cast  off  the 
bond  of  action  (karma),  of  dharma  and  a-dhavma,  of  virtue 
and  sin,  of  merit  and  demerit,  this  severance  of  the  bond 
being  effected  only  on  attaining  to  a  knowledge  of  the  Self 
through  Divine  Grace  (Isvara-prasrida). 

Yoga,  a  safe  course. 


40.  There  is  no  loss  of  effort  here,  there  is  no 
harm.  Even  a  little  of  this  devotion  delivers  one 
from  great  fear. 

Unlike  agriculture,  nothing  that  is  attempted  here — in  this 
path  to  moksha,  in  this  devotion  by  works — is  entirely  lost. 
That  is,  there  is  no  uncertainty  regarding  the  result  of  any 
effort  in  the  path  of  Yoga.  Neither  is  there  any  chance  of 
harm  resulting  from  it,  as  it  may  sometimes  result  from 
medical  treatment. — \Vhat  is  the  result? — Anything  done, 
however  little  it  be,  in  this  Path  of  Yoga,  saves  one  from 
great  fear,  from  the  fear  of  sa/z^sara,  of  birth  and  death. 

*  Th?  ignorance  qf  the  true  nature  of  the  Si^lf, 

3'J — 44]  SANKHVA-YOGA.  5! 

Wisdom  is  one. 

The   wisdom   concerning   Sankhya   and    Yoga   thus   far 
described  is  of  the  following  nature  : 

41.  Here,  O  son  of  Kuru,  there  is  one  thought 
of  a  resolute  nature.  Many-branched  and  endless 
are  the  thoughts  of  the  irresolute. 

Here,  O  son  of  Kuru,  in  this  path  to  Bliss,  there  is  only 
one  thought  of  a  resolute  nature,  and  it  is  subversive  of  all 
other  many-branched  thoughts  opposed  to  it, — that  thought 
having  sprung  from  the  right  source  of  knowledge.  Those 
other  thoughts  which  are  opposed  to  it  are  various.  By 
acting  up  to  these  many-branched  thoughts,  sa;//sara 
becomes  endless  and  ever-spreading.  But  when,  owing  to 
discrimination  produced  by  the  right  source  of  knowledge 
these  thoughts  of  endless  variety  cease,  sawsara  also 
ceases.  Owing  to  variety  in  each  of  their  branches,  the 
thoughts  of  the  irresolute — of  those  who  are  not  possess- 
ed of  the  discrimination  produced  by  the  right  source  of 
knowledcre — are  endless. 


Na  wisdom  possible  for  the  worIdIy  =  minded. 

As  regards   those   who  have   no   conviction   of  a  resolute 

42-44.  Xo  conviction  of  a  resolute  nature  is 
formed  in  the  mind  of  those  who  are  attached  to 
pleasures  and  power,  and  whose  minds  are  drawn 
away  by  that  flowery  speech  which  the  unwise — 
enamoured  of  Vedic  utterances,  declaring  there  is 
nothing  else,  full  of  desire,  having  svarga  as  their 

52  THE    BHAGAVAD-GiTA.  [DiS.    ll 

goal — utter,  (  a  speech  )  which  promises  birth  as 
the  reward  of  actions  and  which  abounds  in  speci- 
fic acts  for  the  attainment  of  pleasure  and  power, 
O  son  of  Pritha. 

They  are  unwise  ;  they  are  wanting  in  discrimination. 
They  are  enamoured  of  the  Vedic  passages  composed  of 
many  a  praise  (to  gods)  and  unfolding  various  ends  and 
means.  They  say  that  there  is  nothing  else  besides  works 
which  are  the  means  of  attaining  svarga,  cattle,  and  other 
such  objects  of  desire.  They  are  full  of  desires  and  are 
ever  in  pursuit  of  them.  Their  chief  and  final  goal  is  svarga. 
They  talk  words,  fine  like  a  flowery  tree,  very  pleasant  to 
hear.  Their  speech  holds  out  births  as  the  reward  of  works, 
and  treats  of  specific  acts  wherewith  to  secure  svarga, 
cattle,  progeny  and  the  like,  and  wherewith  to  attain 
pleasures  and  power.  Thus  talking  these  foolish  people 
wander  in  the  sawsara.  They  regard  pleasure  and  power 
as  necessary  ;  they  are  in  love  with  them  and  have  identified 
themselves  with  them.  Their  intelligence  and  wisdom  are 
blinded  ( as  it  were )  by  this  speech  abounding  in  specific 
acts.  In  their  mind — samddhi,  the  biiddki,  the  antah-karana, 
in  Avhich  are  gathered  together  all  objects  of  enjoyment  for 
the  pnriisha,  the  individual  soul — no  conviction  of  a  resolute 
nature,  no  wisdom  concerning  Sankhya  or  Yoga  will  arise. 

Advice  to  the  Yogin. 

The  Lord  now  speaks  of  the  result  accruing  to  those  lust- 
ful persons  who  are  thus  wanting  in  discrimination  : 

45.  The  Vedas  treat  of  the  triad  of  the  gunas. 
Be,  O  Arjuna,  free  from  the  triad  of  the  gu;zas, 
free  from  pairs,  free  from  acquisition  and  preserva- 

44 — 4^J  SANKHYA-YOGA.  53 

tion,  ever  remaining  in  the    Sattva    (Goodness), 
and  self-possessed. 

The  Vedas  ''■'  treat  of  the  triad  of  the  guwas  ;  sa;«sara  I  is 
their  subject.  You,  on  the  other  hand,  had  better  be  free  from 
the  triad  of  the  gu«as,  /.  c,  be  without  desires.     Be  free 
from  pairs  ( dvandvas ),  from  all   mutually  opposed  objects 
which  are  the   causes  of   pleasure  and   pain.     Take   your 
stand  ever  in  the   Sattva  :  practise  purity.,    To  him  who  is  '^ 
anxious  to   acquire    what    has   not    been    acquired    and    to  | 
preserve  what  has  been  already  acquired,  practice  of  virtue  | 
is  impossible ;  wherefore  be  not  anxious  about  new  acqui-  1 
sitions  or  about  the  preservation  of  the  old  ones.     Be   also 
self-possessed:  be  guarded. .^     This  is  the   advice   you   haxe 
to  follow  when  engaged  in  the  performance  of   duty. 


{Question)  : — If  all  those  endless  advantages  which  are 
said  to  result  from  the  Vedic  rituals  are  not  to  be  sought 
after, to  what  end  are  they  to  be  performed  and  dedicated  to 
the  Isvara  ? 

(Ausiyey)  : — Listen  to  what  follows  : 

46,  What  utility  there  is  in  a  reservoir  (as 
compared)  with  an  all-spreading  flood  of  water, 
the  same  (utility)  there  is  in  all  Vedas  for  an 
enlightened  Brahma7;a. 

'  1.  c,  the  Kannaka;i(/a,  the  ritualistic  brought  about  by  the  interaction  of  the 

portion  of  the  Vedas.  guiias. 

+  which  is  made  up  of  virtuous,  sinful,  ;  Do  not  yield  to  thj  objects  of  the 

and  mixed  deeds  and  their  results,  all  enses. 


54  THE  bhagAvad-gita.  [Dis.  li. 

Whatever  utility — of  bathing,  drinking,  and  the  like — 
is  served  by  a  well,  a  tank,  and  many  other  small  reservoirs 
of  water  &c.,  all  that  utility  is  only  as  much  as  the  utility 
which  is  served  by  an  all-spreading  flood  of  water  ;  that  is, 
the  former  utility  is  comprehended  in  the  latter.  So  also, 
whatever  utility  there  is  in  all  the  Vedic  ritual,  all  that  is. 
comprehended  in  the  utility  of  the  right  knowledge  possess- 
ed by  a  Briihma/ia  who  has  renounced  the  world  and  has 
completely  realized  the  truth  concerning  the  Absolute  Rea- 
lity ;  this  knowledge  corresponding  to  the  all-spreading 
flood  of  water."''  The  sruti  says  : — "  Whatever  good  thing 
is  done  by  people,  all  that  is  possessed  by  him  who  knows 
what  he  (Raikva)  knew."  (Chh.  Up.  4-1-4).  The  same  thing 
will  also  be  said  here  (iv.  33).  Wherefore! ,  for  a  man  who 
is  qualified  for  works  it  is  necessary  to  perform  works  (which 
stand  in  the  place  of  wells  and  tanks  )  before  he  becomes  fit 
for  the  path  of  knowledge. 

And  as  for  you, 

47.  Thy  concern  is  with  action  alone,  never 
with  results.  Let  not  the  fruit  of  action  be  thy 
motive,  nor  let  thy  attachmant  b:^  for  inaction. 

You  are  qualified  for  works  alone,  not  for  the  path  of 
knowledge.  And  then,  while  doing  works,  let  there  be  no 
desire  for  the  results  of  works  under  any  circumstances 
whatever.     If  you  should  have  a  thirst   for  the  results  of 

*  That  is  to  say,  all  the  pleasure  which  hended  in   the    Infinite  Bliss.    Thus  the 

results  from  the  performance  of  all  works  Path   of  Karma- Yoga,  which  in  the  end 

enjoined  in  the  Vedas  is   comprehended  leads  to  the   attainment   of  the   infinite 

in  the  bliss  which  the  man  who  has  realis-  bliss  of  the  Self,  cannot  be  futile,  as  the 

ed  the   Self  finSs  as  the   essence   of  his  questioner  has  been  led  to  suppose.— (A) 
own  Self;    and   every   one   must,  admit  i   Because   the  Path  of  Karma-Yoga  is 

that  alj  kinds  of  limited  bliss  are  compre-  not  futile.— (A), 

46 — 49]  SANKHYA-YOGA.  55 

works,  you  will  have  to  reap  those  fruits.  Therefore  let 
not  your  motive  be  the  fruits  of  your  action.  When  a 
person  performs  works  thirsting  for  the  results  of  those 
works,  then  he  will  bs  subject  to  rebirth  as  the  result  of 
action.  Neither  may  you  be  attached  to  inaction,  thinking 
"  Of  what  avail  are  these  painful  works  if  their  fruits 
should  not  be  desired  ?" 

If  a  man  should  not  perform  works  urged  by  a  desire  for 
their  results,  how  then  are  they  to  be  performed  ?  The 
reply  follows  : 

48.  Steadfast  in  devotion  do  thy  works,  O 
Dhana;;/jaya,  casting  off  attachment,  being  the 
same  in  success  and  failure.  Evenness  is  called 

Steadfast  in  devotion  fYo:^'a)  psrform  works  merely  for 
God's  sake,  casting  off  even  such  attachment  as  this,  "May 
God  be  pleased,"  and  being  equanimous  in  success  and 
failure.  Success  (  siddhi )  consists  in  the  attainment  of 
knowledge  ( J7/ana )  as  the  result  of  mind  (Sattva)  attaining 
purity  when  works  are  done  by  one  without  longing  for 
their  fruits  ;  and  failure  results  from  the  opposite  course. 

*  What  is  that  devotion  (Yoga)  to  which  Arjuna  has  been 
exhorted  to  resort  in  performing  works  ?  The  reply  is 
this  : — Evenness  of  mind  in  success  and  failure  is  called 
devotion   (Yoga). 

In  comparison  with  action  thus  performed  in  the  service 
of  the  Isvara  with  evenness  of  mind, 

49.  \'erily  action  is  far  inferior  to  devotion  in 
K    -svisdom  (buddhi-yogal,  O  Dhana;7g"aya.  In  wisdom 


56  THE    BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.    II. 

(buddhi)  seek   thou    shelter.     Wretched    are   they 
whose  motive  is  the  fruit. 

Action  done  by  a  seeker  of  its  reward  is  far  inferior  to 
devotion  in  wisdom,  i.e.,  to  action  performed  with  evenness 
of  mind  ;  for,  the  former  is  the  cause  of  birth  and  death, 
O  Dhana/wjaya.  Wherefore,  seek  shelter  in  the  wisdom  of 
Yoga,  or  rather  in  the  wisdom  of  Sankhya,  which  latter 
arises  when  Yoga  attains  maturity.  That  is,  seek  refuge  in 
the  knowledge  of  the  Supreme  Reality.  For,  wretched  are 
they  who  resort  to  inferior  action,  who  are  incited  to  action 
by  thirst  for  its  fruit.     The  sruti  says  : 

"  O  Gargi,  wretched  is  he  who  departs  from  this 
world  without  knowing  the  Akshara,  the  Imperish- 
able."    (BH.  Up.  3-8-13). 

The  merit  of   Wisdom. 

Now,  learn  as  to  what  result  he  attains  who  performs  his 
own  duty  with  evenness  of  mind  : 

50.  He  who  is  endued  with  wisdom  casts  off 
here  both  good  deeds  and  bad  deeds.  Wherefore 
apply  thyself  to  devotion.  In  regard  to  actions 
devotion  is  a  power. 

The  man  that  has  evenness  of  mind  casts  off  in  this  world 
both  merit  and  sin  (suknta  and  dushknta,  pu«ya  and  papa) 
through  attaining  mental  purity  and  knowledge.  Wherefore 
apply  yourself  to  devotion  with  equanimity.  For  devotion  is 
a  power, — devotion  being  the  equanimity  of  mind  in  success 
and  failure  on  the  part  of  him  who  is  engaged  in  the  perform- 
ance of  his  own  duties,  his  mind  resting  on  the  tsvara  all  | 
the  while.     It  is   indeed  a  power,  because  works  which  are 


49 — 52]  SANKHYA-YOGA.  57 

of  a  binding  nature  lose  that  nature  when  done  with  even- 
ness of  mind.     Wherefore  be  equanimous. 

Results  of  Karma- Yoga. 

51.  For,  men  of  wisdom  cast  off  the  fruit  of 
action  ;  possessed  of  knowledge  (  and )  released 
from  the  bond  of  birth,  they  go  to  the  place  where 
there  is  no  evil. 

For,  men  of  wisdom,  possessing  evenness  of  mind,  cast  off 
the  fruit  of  works,  i.  e.,  escape  from  good  and  bad  births. 
They  then  attain  knowledge.  While  still  alive,  they  are 
released  from  the  bond  of  birth,  and  attain  the  supreme 
abode  of  Vish/m — the  state  of  moksha  or  liberation — which 
is  free  from  all  turmoils. 

Or,  the  wisdom  (buddhi)  referred  to  in  the  three  verses 
(ii.  49 — 51)  may  be  the  Sankhya-(not  the  Yoga-)  wisdom,  the 
knowledge  of  the  Absolute  Reality,  (corresponding  to  the 
wide-spread  expanse  of  water),  which  arises  when  the  mind 
is  purified  by  Karma- Yoga  ;  for,  it  is  said  in  ii.  50  that 
wisdom  directly  brings  about  the  destruction  of  good  and 
bad  deeds.  - 

W'hen  is  that  conviction  attained  which  (it  is  said)  arises 
as  soon  as  the  mind  is  purified  by  Karma- Yoga  or  devo- 
tion through  works  ?     The  answer  follows  : 

52.  When  thy  mind  shall  cross  beyond  the  mire 
of  delusion,  then  wilt  thou  attain  to  a  disgust  of 
what  is  yet  to  be  heard  and  what  has  been  heard. 

W^hen  your  intuition  (buddhi)  shall  cross  beyond  the  mire 
of  delusion,  by  which  the  sense  of  discrimination  between 
the  Self  and  the  not-Self  is  confounded  and  the  mind  (anta/i- 


58  THE    BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.  II. 

kara«a)  is  turned  towards  the  objects  of  the  senses — i.  e., 
when  your  reason  attains  purity — then  will  you  attain  to 
a  disgust  of  what  is  yet  to  be  heard  and  what  has  already 
been    heard  '■'■'■  :  they   will   appear   to  you  to  be  of  no  use. 

You  may  now  ask  :  "  When  shall  I  attain  the  true  Yoga 
or  conviction  of  the  Supreme  Truth,  by  crossing  beyond 
the  mire  of  delusion  and  obtaining  wisdom  by  discrimina- 
tion of  the  Self  ?"    Listen: 

53.  When  thy  mind,  perplexed  by  what  thou 
hast  heard,  shall  stand  firm  and  steady  in  the 
Self,  then  wilt  thou  attain  Yoga. 

When  your  intuition  (buddhi=:antaA-kara;2a)  which 
has  been  perplexed  by  what  you  have  heard  about  the 
multifarious  ends  and  means  in  all  their  relations — concern- 
ing the  life  of  activity  and  the  life  of  retirement — shall  stand 
firm,  without  distraction  (vikshepa^viparyaya)  and  doubt 
(vikalpa^^sawsaya),  in  the  Self  (Samaidhi,  i.e,  the  objective 
point  of  your  meditation),  then  you  will  attain  Yoga,  sama- 
dhi,  i.e.,  the  knowledge  which  arises  from  discrimination. 

The  characteristic  attributes  of  a  perfect  Sage. 

Having  found  an  occasion  for  interrogation,  Arjuna 
asks  with  a  desire  to  know  the  characteristic  marks  of  one 
who  has  attained  wisdom  in  steady  contemplation  (sarnadhi- 

Arjuna  said  : 

54.  What,  O    Kesava  !  ,    is   the  description  of 
one  of  steady   knowledge,  who  is  constant  in  con- 

♦  except,    of  course,  the  teachings  of  the  scripture  regarding   the  .^tiiian,   the 
Self.— (A) 

52—55]  SANKIIYA-YOGA.  59 

templation  ?      How  does  one  of  steady  knowledge 
speak,  how  sit,  how  move  ? 

How  is  a  man  who  has  a  firm  conviction  that  he  is  the 
Supreme  Brahman,  and  who  is  intent  on  contemplation 
(samadhi), — how  is  such  a  man  spoken  of  by  others  ?  How 
does  the  man  of  steady  knowledege  himself  speak  ?  How 
does  he  sit  ?  How  does  he  move  ? — In  this  verse  Arjuna 
asks  in  order  to  know  what  the  characteristic  attributes  of 
a  man  of  steady  knowledge  (sthitaprajwa)  are. 

From  ii.  55  to  the  end  of  the  Discourse  (adhyaya),  the 
characteristic  attributes  of  a  man  of  steady  knowledge  as 
well  as  the  means  of  obtaining  that  knowledge  are  taught  to 
him  who,  having  from  the  very  commencement  renounced 
all  works,  has  entered  upon  a  course  of  Devotion  to  Know- 
ledge (j«ana-yoga-nish/ha),  as  well  as  to  him  who  has 
reached  that  stage  by  means  of  Devotion  to  works  (Karma- 
yoga).  For,  everywhere  in  spiritual  science  (adhyatma- 
sastra),  the  very  characteristic  attributes  of  the  successful 
Yogin  are  taught  as  the  means  (of  attaining  that  stage), 
since  they  are  to  be  attained  by  effort.  The  Lord  now 
points  out  those  characteristic  attributes  which,  as  attain- 
able by  effort,  constitute  the  means  as  well. 

(i)    Satisfaction  in   the  5elf. 

The  Lord  said  : 
55.  When  a  man,   satisfied  in  the  Self  alone  by 
himself,    completely  casts  off  all  the  desires  of  the 
mind,  then  is  he  said  to  be  one  of  steady  knowledge. 

When  a  man  completely  abandons  all  the  various  desires 
that  enter  the  heart  and  is  satisfied  with  the  True  Inner- 

6o  THE  bhagavad-gIta.  [Dis.II. 

most   Self  (Pratyagatman)  in  himself,  without   longing  for 
external  possessions,  averse  to  everything  else  because  of  his 
acquisition  of  the  immortal  nectar, — i.e,,  his  realisation  of  the 
Supreme  Truth, — then  he  is  said  to  be  a  wise  man  (vidvan), 
one  whose  knowledge  arising  from  the  discrimination  of  the 
Self  and  the  not-Self  has  been  steadied.  [If,  on  his  abandon- 
ing of  all  desires,  nothing  should  be  found  to  cause  satisfac- 
tion while  the   cause  of  the  embodied    state  still  operates,  it 
would  follow   that  his   behaviour    would  be  like  that    of  a 
mad   man    or  a  maniac.     Hence  the  words  '  satisfied  in   the 
Self  &c.]    That  is  to  say,  he  who  has  abandoned  all  desires 
connected    with    progeny,  possessions  and  the  world,  who 
has  renounced  (all  works),  who  delights  in  the  Self  and  plays 
with  the   Self,— he  is  the  man  whose   knowledge   is  steady. 

(2)   Equanimity  in  pleasure  and  pain. 


56.  He  whose  heart  is  not  distressed  in  calami- 
ties, from  whom  all  longing  for  pleasures  has 
departed,  who  is  free  from  attachment,  fear  and 
wrath,  he  is  called  a  sage,  a  man  of  steady  know- 

His  heart   is  not  distressed   in   calamities   such   as  may 
arise  from  disorder  in  the  body  ■■,  (adhyatmika),  &c.    Unlike 

*  Calamities  are  divided  into  the  threj  Aditidaivika,  arising  from  the  action  of 

following     classes    according    to    their  great,  intelligent,   cosmic   forces  such  as 

sources:  those  which  cause  rain  and  storm  or  such 

Adhyatmika^  arising   from   disorder  in  beings  as  Vaksha,  Rakshasa  and  Pisacha. 

one's  own  body;  Pleasures   also  are    divided    into    the 

Adhibhautika,    arising    from    external  same  three  classes, 
objects  such  as  a  tiger; 


55 — 5^]  SANKHYA-YOGA.  6l 

fire,  which  increases  as  fuel  is  added,  his  longing  for 
pleasures  does  not  increase  a?  more  pleasures  are  attained. 
He  is  said  to  be  a  man  of  steady  knowledge.  He  is  called 
a  sage,  a  Sannyasin,  one  who  has  renounced  works. 

(^)  Absence  of  attachment,  delight  and  aversion. 


57.  Whoso,  without  attachment  anywhere,  on 
meeting  with  anj^thing  good  or  bad,  neither  exults 
nor  hates,  his  knowledge  becomes  steady. 

The  sage  has  no  attachment  even  for  the  life  of  the  body. 
He  does  not  exult  in  pleasure,  nor  is  he  averse  to  pain  that 
may  befall  him.  When  he  is  thus  free  from  delight  and 
distress,  his  knowledge  arising  from  discrimination  be- 
comes steady. 

(4)    Complete  withdrawal  of  senses  from  objects. 


58.  When  he  completely  withdraws  the  senses 
from  sense-objects,  as  the  tortoise  (withdraws) 
its  limbs  from  all  sides,  his  knowledge  is  steady. 

He,  /.  e.,  the  devotee  who  strives  in  the  path  of  know- 
ledge (j/mna-nish/'ha),  withdraws  his  senses  from  all  objects 
as  the  tortoise  withdraws  its  limbs  from  all  sides  out 
of  fear. 

{Question)  : — Now,  even  the  senses  of  a  diseased  man  who 
is  not  able  to  partake  of  sensuous  objects  withdraw  from 
sense-objects,  but  the  taste  for  them  ceases  not.  How  does 
that  cease  ? 

{Aiisiver)  : — Listen  : 

62  THE  BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.    II. 

59.  Objects  withdraw  from  an  abstinent  man, 
but  not  the  taste.  On 'seeing  the  Supreme,  his 
taste,  too,  ceases. 

The  senses, — '  vishaya//,'  meaning  literally  sense-objects, 
here  stands  for  the  senses, — it  is  true,  withdraw  from  objects 
even  in  the  case  of  an  ignorant  person  who,  practising 
extremest  austerity,  abstains  from  all  sensuous  objects  ; 
but  the  taste  or  inclination  (rasa)  for  those  objects  ceases 
not.  [Rasa  is  used  in  the  sense  of  taste  or  inclination  in 
such  expressions  as  '  svarasena  pravntta/^,'  '  rasika/z,'  and 
*  rasa- j '/a//. 'J  Even  that  taste,  that  subtle  attachment, 
vanishes  in  the  case  of  the  devotee  who,  having  seen  the 
Supreme  Reality,  the  Brahman,  thinks  'I  am  myself  That'; 
that  is  to  say,  his  perception  of  sensuous  objects  becomes 
seedless  (nir-bija),  has  lost  all  germ  of  evil.  The  meaning 
is  this  :  In  the  absence  of  right  knowledge,  there  can  be  no 
annihilation  ''■'■  of  taste  for  sensuous  objects ;  wherefore, 
steadiness  of  right  knowledge    (prajna)  should  be  acquired. 

Unrestrained  senses  work  mischief. 

He  who  would  acquire  steadiness  of  right  knowledge 
(prajwa)  should  first  bring  the  senses  under  control.  For,  if 
not  controlled,  they   will  do  harm.     So,  the  Lord  says  : 

60.  The  dangerous  senses,  O  son  of  Kunti, 
forcibly  carry  away  the  mind  of  a  wise  man,  even 
while  striving  (to  control  them). 

*  It  is  no  fallacy  of  mutual  dependance  For,  desire  in  its  grossest  form  disappears 

(anyonyasraya)  to    say  that     knowledge  at  the  first  dawn  of  knowledge,    and,  as 

arises  on  the  killing  of  desires  and  that  knowledge  is  steadied  and  perfected,  even 

desires  vanish  when  knowledge     arises.  the  subtlest  desires  are  killed  out. 

^g — 63]  SAN  KHVA- YOGA.  63- 

The  senses  are  dangerous.  They  agitate  the  mind  of  the 
man  who  is  incUned  to  sensuous  objects.  Having  thus 
agitated  the  mind,  they  carry  it  away  by  force,  while  the 
man  is  wide  awake  *  though  the  mind  is  posessed  of 
discriminative  knowlebge. 

(5)    Devotion  to  the  Lord. 


61.  Restraining  them  all,  a  man  should  remain 
steadfast,  intent  on  Me.  His  knowledge  is  steady 
whose  senses  are  under  control. 

He  should  bring  the  senses  under  control  and  sit  calm 
and  intent  on  Me,  Vasudeva,  the  Innermost  Self  of  all ; 
i.  e.,  he  should  sit  thinking  '  I  am  no  other  than  He.' 
The  knowledge  of  that  devotee  is  steady  who,  thus  seated, 
has  by  practice  brought    the  senses  under  his  own   control. 

Thought  of  sense -objects  is  the  source  of  evil. 

Now  the  Lord  proceeds  to  point  out  the  source  of  all 
evil  in  the  case  of  the  unsuccessful  : 

62.  When  a  man  thinks  of  objects,  attachment 
for  them  arises.  From  attachment  arises  desire  ; 
from  desire  arises  wrath. 

Attachment  for  objects  arises  when  a  man  thinks  of  them 
specifically  J — Wrath  arises  when  desire  is  frustrated  by 
some  cause  or  other, 

63.  From  wrath  arises  delusion;  from  delusion, 
failure  of  memory  ;  from   failure   of  memory,  loss 

*  j.t^.  while  repeatedly  thinking  of  the  §  i.  e.,  thinks  of -their  beauty  etc. 

evil  nature  of  sensuous  objects. 

64  tHe  bMaGavad-gIta  [Dis.  II. 

of  conscience ;  from  loss  of  conscience  he  is  utterly 


From  v/rath  arises  delusion,  a  lack  of  discrimination  be- 
tween right  and  wrong.  Verily,  when  a  wrathful  man  gets 
mfatuated,  he  is  led  to  insult  even  the  Guru.  From  in- 
fatuation follows  failure  of  memory.  Despite  the  presence 
of  favourable  conditions,  no  reminiscences  arise  of  things 
already  impressed  upon  the  mind  by  the  teachings  of  the 
sastras  and  of  the  teacher  (acharya).  From  failure  of  memory 
follows  loss  of  conscience  (buddhi) — the  inability  of  the 
inner  sense  (anta/i-kara»a)  to  discriminate  between  right 
and  wrong  (karya  and  a-karya).  By  loss  of  conscience  he 
is  utterly  ruined.  Man  is  man  only  so  long  as  his  anta/i- 
kara»a  is  competent  to  discriminate  between  right  and 
wrong.  When  it  is  unable  to  do  so,  the  man  is  utterly 
ruined.  Thus,  by  loss  of  conscience  (anta/j-kara?ia, 
buddhi)  he  is  ruined,  he  is  debarred  from  attainnig  human 

Sense-control  leads  to  peace  and  happiness. 

The  contemplation  of  sense-objects  has  been  described  as 
the  source  of  all  evil.  Now  the  means  of  deliverance 
(moksha)  is  described  as  follows  : 

64.     He     attains    peace,    who,    self-controlled,    , 
approaches  objects   with  senses  devoid  of  love  and 
hatred  and  brought  under  his  own  control. 

The  natural  activity  of  the  senses  is  characterised  by 
love  and  hatred.  He  who  longs  for  deliverance  resorts  only 
to  unavoidable  objects  with  senses— hearing,  etc., — devoid  of 
love  and  hatred  and  brought   under   his   own  control,  his 

63—66]  SANKIIYA-YOGA.  65 

inner  sense  (atman  =  antaA-kara72a)  being  made  obedient  to 
his  own  will.  Such  a  man  attains  peace,  tranfiuillity,  self- 

(Question)  : — What  will  happen   when  peace  is  attained  ? 

{Answer) : — Listen  : 

65.  In  peace  there  is  an  end  of  all  his  miseries  ; 
for,  the  reason  of  the  tranquil-minded  soon  be- 
comes steady. 

On  the  attainment  of  peace  there  is  an  end  of  all  the 
devotee's  miseries  such  as  pertain  to  the  body  and  the 
mind.  For,  the  reason  (buddhi)  of  the  pure-minded  man 
soon  becomes  steady,  pervading  on  all  sides  like  the  akasa ; 
i.  c,  it  remains  steadfast,  in  the  form  of  the  Self. 

The  sense  of  the  passage  is  this  : — -The  man  whose  heart 
is  pure  and  whose  mind  is  steady  has  achieved  his  object. 
Wherefore  the  devout  man  should  resort  only  to  those 
sense-objects  which  are  indispensable  and  not  forbidden 
by  the  sastras,  with  the  senses  devoid  of    love  and    hatred. 

Tranquillity  is  thus  extolled  : 

66.  There  is  no  wisdom  to  the  unsteady,  and 
no  meditation  to  the  unsteady,  and  to  the  un- 
meditative    no  peace ;  to  the  peaceless,  how  can 

•'  there  be  happiness  ? 

To' the  unsteady  (ayukta  —  asamahita),  to  the  man  who 
cannot  fix  the  mind  in  contemplation,  there  can  be  no 
wisdom  (buddhi),  no  knowledge  of  the  true  nature  of  the 
Self.  To  the  unsteady,  there  can  be  no  meditation,  no 
intense  devotion  to  Self-knowledge.  So,  to  him  who  is  not 
devoted  to  Self-knowledge  there   can  be  no  peace,  no  tran- 


66  THE    BHAGAVAD-GlTA.  [DiS.    II. 

quillity.  To  the  peaceless  man,  how  can  there  be  happi- 
ness ?  Verily,  happiness  consists  in  the  freedom  of  the 
senses  from  thirst  for  sensual  enjoyment,  not  in  the  thirst 
(tnsh«a)  for  objects.  This  last  is  mere  misery  indeed. 
While  there  is  thirst,  there  can  be  no  trace  of  happiness  ; 
we  cannot  so  much  as  smell  it. 

5ense  =  restraint  conduces  to  steady  knowledge. 

{Qncstiou)  : — Why  is  there  no  knowledge  for  the  unsteady  ? 
{Ansit'cy) : — Listen  : 

67.  For,  the  mind  which  yields  to  the  roving 
senses  carries  away  his  knowledge,  as  the  wind 
(carries  away)  a  ship  on  water. 

P^or,  the  mind  which  yields  to  the  senses  engaged  in 
their  respective  objects,  /.  e.,  the  mind  which  is  altogether 
engrossed  in  the  thought  of  the  various  objects  of  the 
senses,  destroys  the  devotee's  discriminative  knowledge  of 
the  Self  and  the  not-Self. — How? — As  the  wind  carries  away 
a  ship  from  the  intended  course  of  the  sailors  and  drives 
her  astray,  so  the  mind  carries  away  the  devotee's  conscious- 
ness from  the  Self  and  turns  it  towards  sense-objects. 

Having  explained  in  several  ways  the  proposition  enun- 
ciated in  ii.  60 — 61,  the  Lord  concludes  by  reaffirming  the 
same  proposition  : 

68.  Therefore,  O  mighty-armed,  his  knowledge 
is  steady  whose  senses  have  been  entirely  restrain- 
ed from  sense-objects. 

It  has  been  shown  that  evil  arises  from  the  senses  pursu- 
ing sense-objects.     Wherefore,  that  devotee's  knowledge  is 

66 — 69]  SANKHYA-YOGA.  67 

Steady  whose  senses  have  been  restrained  from  sense-oUjects 
(such  as  sound)  in  all  forms,  subjective  and  objective. 

(6)  The  Universe,  a  mere  dream  to  the  Sajfe. 

In  the  case  of  the  man  who  possesses  discriminative 
knowledge  and  whose  knowledge  has  become  steady,  his 
experience  of  all  matters,  temporal  and  spiritual  (laukika 
and  vaidika,  sensuous  and  supersensuous),  ceases  on  the 
cessation  of  nescience  (avidya)  ;  for,  it  is  the  effect  of 
nescience  ;  and  nescience  ceases  because  it  is  opposed  to 
knowledge.     To  make  this  clear,  the  Lord  proceeds  : 

6g.  What  is  night  to  all  beings,  therein  the 
self-controlled  one  is  awake.  Where  all  beings 
are  aw'ake,  that  is  the  night  of  the  sage  who  sees. 

To  all  beings  the  Supreme  Reality  is  night.  Night  is 
by  nature  tamasic,  and,  as  such,  causes  confusion  of  things. 
The  Reality  is  accessible  only  to  a  man  of  steady  know- 
ledge. Just  as  what  is  day  to  others  becomes  night  to 
night-wanderers,  so,  to  all  beings  who  are  ignorant  and  who 
correspond  to  the  night-wanderers,  the  Supreme  Reality  is 
dark,  is  like  night  ;  for  it  is  not  accessible  to  those  whose 
minds  are  not  in  It.  With  reference  to  that  Supreme  Rea- 
lity, the  self-restrained  Yogin  who  has  subdued  the  senses, 
and  who  has  shaken  off  the  sleep  of  Avidya  (nescience),  is 
fully  awake.  When  all  beings  are  said  to  be  awake,  /.  f., 
when  all  beings,  who  in  reality  sleep  in  the  night  of 
ignorance,  imbued  with  the  distinct  notions  of  perceiver  and 
things  perceived,  are  as  it  were  mere  dreamers  in  sleep  at 
night, — that  state  is  night  in  the  eye  of  the  sage  wl  o  knows 
the  Supreme  Reality  ;  for,  it  is  nescience  itself. 

68  THE  bhagavad-gIta.  [DlS.  II. 

Works  are  not  meant  of  the  sage. 

Wherefore  works  are  enjoined  on  the  ignorant,  not  on 
the  wise.  Wisdom  (Vidya)  arising,  nescience  (Avidya)  dis- 
appears as  does  the  darkness  of  the  night  at  sunrise. 
Before  the  dawn  of  wisdom,  nescience  presents  itself  in 
various  forms — as  actions,  means  and  results, — is  regard- 
ed as  authoritative,  and  becomes  the  source  of  all  action. 
When  it  is  regarded  as  of  no  authority,  it  cannot  induce 
action.  A  man  engages  in  action  regarding  it  as  his  duty — 
regarding  that  action  is  enjoined  by  such  an  authority  as 
the  \'eda, — but  not  looking  upon  all  this  duality  as  mere 
illusion,  as  though  it  were  night.  When  he  has  learnt  to 
look  upon  all  this  dual  world  as  a  mere  illusion,  as  though 
it  were  night,  when  he  has  realised  the  Self,  his  duty 
consists  not  in  the  performance  of  action,  but  in  the  renun- 
ciation of  all  action.  Our  Lord  will  accordingly  show  (v. 
ly  cf  seq.)  that  such  a  man's  duty  consists  in  devotion  to 
wisdom,  in  j/nxna-nish/ha. 

[Objection)  : — In  the  absence  of  an  injunction  (pravartaka 
prama»a  -^=  vidhi)  one  cannot  have  recourse  to  that  course 

(Aiisicey): — This  objection  does  not  apply;  for,  the 
knowledge  of  Atman  means  the  knowledge  of  one's  own 
Self.  There  is  indeed  no  need  of  an  injunction  impelling 
one  to  devote  oneself  to  one's  Atman,  for  the  very  reason 
that  Atman  is  one's  own  very  Self.  And  all  organs  of 
knowledge  (prama/^as)  are  so  called  because  they  ultimately 
lead  to  a  knowledge  of  the  Self.  \\'hen  the  knowledge  of 
the  true  nature  of  the  Self  has  been  attained,  neither  organs 
of  knowledge  nor  objects  of  knowledge  present  themselves 

6g — 70]  SANKHYA-YOGA.  69 

to  consciousness  any  longer.^  For,  the  final  authority, 
(viz.,  the  Veda),  teaches  that  the  Self  is  in  reality  no  perci- 
pient of  objects,  and  while  so  denying,  {i.  e.,  as  a  result  of 
that  teaching),  the  \'eda  itself  ceases  to  be  an  authority, 
just  as  the  dream-perception  (ceases  to  be  an  authority)  in 
the  waking  state.  In  ordinary  experience,  too,  we  do  not 
find  any  organ  of  knowledge  necessitating  further  operation 
(on  the  part  of  the  knower)  when  once  the  thing  to  be 
perceived-  by  that  organ  has  been  perceived. 

(7)  Subjug^ation  of  desire  and  personal  self. 

The  Lord  proceeds  to  teach,  by  an  illustration,  that  that 
devotee  only  who  is  wise,  who  has  abandoned  desires,  and 
whose  wisdom  is  stead*y,  can  attain  moksha,  but  not  he 
who,  Vv'ithout  renouncing,  cherishes  a  desire  for  objects 
of  pleasure. 

70.  He  attains  peace,  into  whom  all  desires 
enter  as  waters  enter  the  ocean,  which,  filled 
from  all  sides,  remains  unaltered  ;  but  not  he  who 
desires  objects. 

The  ocean  is  filled  with  waters  flowing  from  all  sides. 
Its  state  is  unaltered,  though  waters  flow  into  it  from  all 
sides  ;  it  remains  all  the  while  Avithin  its  bounds  without 
change.  That  sage  into  whom  in  this  manner  desires  of 
all  sorts  enter  from  all  sides  without  affecting  him — as 
w^aters  enter  into  the  ocean — even  in  the  presence  of 
objects;  in  whose  Self  they  are  absorbed,  and  whom  they 
do  not  enslave  ;  that  sage  attains  peace  (moksha),  but  not 
the  other  who  has  a  longing  for  external  objects. 

Because  it  is  so,  therefore, 

70  THE    BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DlS.    II. 

71.  That  man  attains  peace,  who,  abandoning 
all  desires,  moves  about  without  attachment,  with- 
out selfishness,  without  vanity. 

That  man  of  renunciation,  who, entirely  abandoning  all 
desires,  goes  through  life  content  with  the  bare  neces- 
sities of  life,  who  has  no  attachment  even  for  those  bare 
necessities  of  life,  who  regards  not  as  his  even  those  things 
which  are  needed  for  the  mere  bodily  existence,  who  is  not 
vain  of  his  knowledge, — such  a  man  of  steady  knowledge,  • 
that  man  who  knows  Brahman,  attains  peace  (u'lrvkna.)  , 
the  end  of  all  the  misery  of  sawsjira  (mundane  existence). 
In  short,  he  becomes  the  very  Brahman. 

Knowledge  leads  to  Divine  Felicity. 

This  devotion  to  knowledge  is  extolled  as  follows: 

72.  This  is  the  Brahmic  state,  O  son  of  Pr/tha. 
Attaining  to  this,  none  is  deluded.  Remaining  in 
this  state  even  at  the  last  period  of  life,  one  at- 
tains to  the  felicity  of  Brahman. 

This  foregoing  statey-to  renounce  all  and  to  dwell  in 
Brahman — is  the  Divine  state,  the  state  of  Brahman.  It 
pertains  to  and  has  its  being  in  Brahman.  On  reaching 
this  state,  one  is  no  longer  deluded.  Remaining  in  this  state 
even  at  the  last  period  of  life,  one  attains  moksha,  the 
felicity  of  Brahman.  And  it  needs  no  saying  that  he 
who  renounces  while  yet  a  student  and  dwells  in  Brahman 
throughout  life  attains  the  Felicity  of  Brahman,  the 


Arjuna's  perplexity. 

The  two  aspects  of  wisdom — relating  respectively  to 
Prav;'itti  and  NivTitti,  i.e.,  to  the  Path  of  Works  and  the 
Path  of  Renunciation — with  which  the  Gita-5astra  is  con- 
cerned have  been  pointed  out  by  the  Lord  in  the  Second 
Discourse,  speaking  of  them  as  wisdom  concerning  San- 
khya  and  wisdom  concerning  Yoga.  From  ii.  55  to  the 
end  of  the  Discourse,  He  has  recommended  renunciation  of 
action  to  those  who  hold  to  the  Sankhya-buddhi  (Sankhya 
aspect  of  wisdom)  and  has  added  in  ii.  72  that  their  end 
can  be  achieved  by  being  devoted  to  that  alone.  And  as 
to  Arjuna,  He  has  declared  in  ii.  47  that  he  should  resort  to 
works  (karma)  alone  as  based  on  Yoga-buddhi  (the  Yoga 
aspect  of  wisdom),  w^hile  it  has  not  been  said  that  the 
Highest  Good  can  be  attained  by  that  alone.  '•'  Seeing 
this,  Arjuna  is  troubled  in  mind  and  therefore  puts  a 
question  to  the  Lord.  (HL  i,  2). 

This  perplexity  in  Arjuna's  mind  is  quite  explicable.  He 
thinks,  "how  might  the  Lord  first  describe  to  me — a  devout 
seeker  of  Bliss — the  direct  means  of  attaining  Bliss,  namely 
adherence  to  the  Sankhya  aspect  of  wisdom,  and  then  com- 
mand me  to  do  action  which  is  fraught  with  many  a  tangible 
evil  and  which  is  but  an  indirect  and  uncertain  means  of  at- 
taining Bliss  ?  Arjuna's  question,  too  points  to  this  state 
of  mind ;  and  the  Lord's  words  in  reply  to  the   question  are 

■*  Vide  ii.  4y— (A) 

72  THE    BMAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.    III. 

explicable  only  when    the  sastra  makes  such    a   distinction 
(between  Sankhya  and  Yoga)  as  has  been  described  above. 

No  conjunction  of  Knowledge  and  Action. 

A  certain  commentator*  interprets  the  meaning  of  Arju- 
na's  question  differently  and  explains  the  Lord's  reply  as 
opposed  (to  the  question)  in  meaning.  So  also,  he  sums  up 
the  teaching  of  the  Gita-sastra  in  one  way  in  the  intro- 
ductory portion  of  his  commentary,  while  he  interprets 
the  question  and  answer  in  this  connection  in  a  different 
way. — How  ? — It  is  stated  in  the  introduction  that  a  simul- 
taneous conjunction  of  knowledge  and  action  for  men  in  all 
stages  of  religious  life  is  inculcated  'in  the  Gita-5astra  ;  and 
moreover  a  specific  statement  is  made  amounting  to  an 
emphatic  denial  of  the  doctrine  that  moksha  can  be 
attained  by  knowledge  alone,  i.  e.,  without  those  works 
which  are  enjoined  by  the  scriptures  as  obligatory  through- 
out life.  But  here,  in  the  Third  Discourse,  he  makes  out 
that  devotion  to  only  one  of  the  two  paths  is  taught.  This 
is  tantamount  to  saying  that  the  very  works  which  are 
enjoined  by  the  scriptures  as  obligatory  throughout  life 
have  to  be  renounced.  How  is  it  possible  either  for  the 
Lord  to  teach  such  contradictions  or  for  the  disciple  to 
accept  them  ? 

That  commentator  may  perhaps  explain  away  the  contra- 
diction thus  : — It  is  only  to  the  g/'ihasthas  (to  the  order  of 
married  house-holders) — but  not  to  other  orders — that 
salvation  by  mere  knowledge,  preceded  by  the  renunciation 
of  works  enjoined  in  the  sruti  and  in  the  smnti,  is   denied.! 

*  The  Vrittikara  is  here    referred   to,        mere  knowledge  is  said  to  be  possible  in 
Vitie  ante  note  on  p.  i6.  the  case  o(  otiicy  orders.  Thus,  they  hold, 

t    In  the  ill.    Discourse  salvation  by        there  is  no  contradiction. 



This,  too,  involves  a  self-contradiction.  For,  after  declar- 
ing? (in  the  introduction)  that  a  simultaneous  conjunction  of 
knowledfje  and  action  is  meant  for  all  relij^ious  orders  by 
the  (lita-iHStra,  how  could  he,  in  contradiction  lliereto,  say 
here  (in  iii.  Discourse)  that  salvation  by  mere  knowledge  is 
meant  for  some  religious  orders  ? 

Then  the  commentator  may  explain  away  the  contradiction 
thus  :  It  is  with  reference  to  the  srauta-karma  (  action 
enjoined  in  the  sruti)  that  the  assertion  is  made  that  salva- 
tion by  mere — I.e.,  unconjoined  with  the  5rautakarma — • 
knowledge  is  denied  to  the  g;'ihasthas.  The  smarta-karma 
(  action  enjoined  in  tlie  smriti  )  that  is  meant  for  a  gri- 
hastha  is  ignored  as  if  it  were  absent.  '•'  It  is  in  this  sense 
that  salvation  by  mere  knowledge  is  denied  in  the  case  ol 
gn  hast  has.  4 

This  also  involves  an  absurdity.  For.  how  is  it  possible 
for  any  intelligent  man  to  believe  that  salvation  by  know- 
ledge conjoined  only  with  the  smarta-karma  is  denied  to  a 
g/'ihastha  alone,  but  not  to  other  orders  ?  On  the  other 
hand,  if,  as  a  means  of  obtaining  sah'ation,  the  smarta-karma 
should  be  conjoined  with  knowledge  in  the  case  of  the 
sawnyasins— the    fourth   religious    order, — then    it     follows 

^K        *  Because    it  is    or  secondary   import- 

^K  ance  to  him. 

^L      ;  It  may  be    fiirtlier   explained    thus  : 

^^P  The  sawnyasins  have  renounced  only 
the  siauta-Vcarma,  l)ut  tliey  have  yet  to 
do  certain  acts  and  be  bound  by  certain 
restrictions  as  enjoined  in  the  smriti.  Thus 
a  conjunction  of  knowledge  with  action 
as  a  means  of  obtaining  salvation  holds 
good  in  the  case  of  sawnyasins.  On  the 
other  hand,  the  srauta-karnia  is  binding 
on  a  grihastha  ;   thit  is  to  say,  he  cannot 

attain  salvation  by  knowledge  unconjoin- 
ed with  the  sraut.i-kanna.  The  sniarta- 
karnia  which  he  is  bound  to  do  is  only  of 
secondary  imporiance  to  him;  and  in  the 
absence  of  the  srauta-karma,  which  is  of 
primary  importance  to  him,  the  existence 
of  the  smarta-karma  may  be  ignored  in 
his  case.  Thus,  while  a  sa;;;nyasin  can  at- 
tain salvation  by  knowledge  conjoined 
with  the  smarta-karma,  a  gnhastha  can 
obtain  it  by  knowledge  conjoined  with 
the  srauta-karma. 




that,  for  the  gnhasthas  also,  knowledge  should  be  conjoined 
only  with  the  smarta-karma,  not  with  the  sralita-karma. 

Then,  he  may  explain  away  the  contradiction  thus  :  it  is 
only  in  the  case  of  a  grihastha  that  a  conjunction  (of  know- 
ledge) with  both  the  srauta-karnia  and, the  smarta-karma — 
both  being  of  equal  importance  to  him — is  necessary  for 
salvation,  whereas  the  sawnyasins  can  attain  moksha  by 
knowledge   conjoined   with    the    smarta-karma   only. 

If  so,  too  much  exertion  in  the  shape  of  both  the  srauta- 
karma  and  the  smarta-karma,  very  painful  in  themselves, 
falls  to  the  lot  of  the  g;'ihastha. 

Renunciation   enjoined  in  the  scriptures. 

The  commentator  in  question  may  now  say  :  Because  of 
this  multiplicity  of  exertion,  salvation  is  attained  only  by  a 
g/'ihastha,  but  not  by  other  religious  orders  who  have  not  to 
do  the  iiitya  or  obligatory  srauta-karma.  * 

This,  too,  is  wrong  ;  for,  in  all  the  Upanishads,  in  the 
Itihrtsas,  in  the  Purtvia,  and  in  the  Yoga-sastra,  renuncia- 
tion of  all  karma  is  enjoined  on  the  seeker  of  moksha  as  an 
accessory  I  to   knowledge.    Both  in    the   5ruti  §  and   in  the 

"  According    to    a    certain    ritualistic  §  "On  the  completion  of  the  studQ^it- 

school  of  Mimamsakas,   renunciation   of  life  one  should   become   an  house-holder; 

the  srauta-karma  is   intended   for   those  then,  leaving  home,   he  should  become  a 

who  are  afflicted  with  physical  disabilities,  forest-dweller  and  then   retire   from   the 

for  the   lame  and   the  blind   who   cannot  world.  Or  he  may  retire   from   the  world 

perform  the  complicated  Vedic  sacrifices  when  he  is  yet  a  student,   or  retire  from 

according  to  prescribed  rules.    According  the  house  or  from  the   forest,  whether  he 

to  this  view,  the  sawinyasins  cannot  attain  is  engaged  in  austerities  or  not, whether 

moksha,  as  they  have   not  performed  the  he  has   completed   or  not   the   student's 

srauta-karma.  career,   whether    he    has  quenched  the 

;  If  sawmyasa  were  meant  for  the   lame  sacrificial  fires   or  not.    In  short,  the  very 

and  the  blind   enly,     it   could  r.ot   h^ve  day  on  which  he  may  get  disgusted  with 

been  meant  as   an  accessory   to    know-  the  world,  the  same  day  he  should  retire 

edge.     He  nee  that   view  is  wrong.  from  it."  J abdla-U panishad .^. 


Intyodiiction.]  karma-yoga.  75 

smnti,  a  gradual  passage  (through  the  tliree  orders  to 
the  fourth  order)  is  enjoined,  as  well  as  a  sudden  jump  (from 
any  one  of  the  three  to  the  fourth  order). 

If  so— the  commentator  in  question  may  retort — it  follows 
that  a  conjunction  of  knowledge  with  action  is  necessary 
for  all  religious  orders.  '•• 

No,  (we  reply).  For,  renunciation  of  all  action  is  enjoined 
on  the  seeker  of  moksha,  as  the  following  passages  from 
the  5ruti  show  : 

"  Having  given  up  all  desire  for  progeny,  for  wealth, 
and  for  the  world,  they  lead  a  mendicant  life." — (Bri. 

^P-  3-5-I-) 

"  Wherefore,  of  these  austerities,  renunciation,  they 
say,  is  excellent."  "  Renunciation  alone  excelled." 
(Taittiriya-Up.  4-79,78). 

"  Not  by  action,  not  by  progeny,  not  by  wealth,  but 
by  renunciation,  some  attained  immortality."  {Ibid.^-12). 

"  One  may  renounce  the  world  when  yet  a  student." 
( Jabala-Upanishad,  4). 

The  following  passages  from  the  smnti  may  also  be 
quoted :  — 

"  Give  up  religion,  give  up  irreligion.  Give  up  truth, 
give  up  untruth.  Having  given  up  both  truth  and  un- 
truth, give  up  that  §  by  which  you  give  them  up."' 

*  When  it  is  said  that   all  the  religious  proved  to  be   necessary  in  the  case  of  all 

orders  are  sanctioned  by  the  sruti,    the  asramas  or  religious  orders, 
duties  also  that  are  assigned  to  them  res-  S  Kven  that   idea  of  personality  which  \ 

pectively  are  binding  on  them.      A  con-  is  implied  in  the  thought,    '  I  have  aban-  I 

junction  ot  knowledge  with  action  is  thus  doned  these. 


"Finding  the  sawsara  (mundane  existence)  worth- 
less and  wishing  to  get  at  the  essence,  the  unmarried 
grow  quite  weary  of  life  and  renounce  the  world.  " — 

Suka's  teaching  runs  as  follows  : 

"By  action  a  person  is  bound,  and  \>y  wisdom  he  is 
released.  Therefore,  the  sages  who  see  the  goal  do  no 
action."'   (.Santipar\ a,  ^lokshadharma,  241-7). 

Here  (in  the  Bhagavad-gitu)  also  we  have,    "  Renouncing 
all  actions  by  thought,  "  &.  (v.  12). 

Moksha  cannot  be  the  effect  of  an   action. 

jMoksha,  too,  being  no  efl'ect  of  an  act,  no  action  will 
avail  a   miimukshu,  a  seeker  of   moksha. 

{Objection): — The  performance  of  obligatory  duties  is  in- 
tended for  the  mere  avoidance  of  the  sin  (of  their  omission). 

{Answer) : — No.  For,  the  sin  arises  only  in  the  case  of  one 
who  has  not  formally  entered  the  fourth  order,  the  order  of 
sa;;myasins.  It  is  certainly  (as  the  opponent  must  admit)  not 
possible  to  imagine  that  a  sawnyasin  Avill  incur  sin  by  omit- 
ting the  agui-kdrya — worship  of  the  sacred  fire — as  students 
(Bralimacharins)  do  thereby  incur  when  they  are  not  yet  sa/«- 
nyasins,  i.e.,  when  they  have  not  formally  renounced  works. '■= 

Neither  is  it,  indeed,  possible  to  imagine  the  generation 
of  sin — which  is  a  hhdva  or  positive  effect — out  of  the 
omission    of     the   obligatory    duties, — which    is  an   abhdva 

II  is  iidmillc'lby   all  that  :i    nraliiiia-  joiiH-fl  only   on  the  first  onkr  i.asramai. 

thuiiii  a'cue  incurs  sin  by  omitting  a^ni-  ^'o  i^iii  in  fact  is  incurred  by  any  rtliyiou-i 

kdrya  (throwing  fuel  into  the  sacred  fire)  order  of  men  neglecting  the  duties  not  en- 

iuJ  the  ^■£dic  -ludy,  which  arc  both  eu-  joined  en  that  cr  Jcr. 

iHiyoduction.]  77 

or  mere  negation  ;  for,  that  the  generation  of  existence 
out  of  non-existence  is  impossible  is  taught  by  the  sruti  in 
the  words  "  How  can  existence  arise  out  of  non-existence  ?" 
[Chhdndogya-U panishad ,  6-2).  If  the  \'eda  should  teach 
what  is  inconceivable  to  us,  viz.,  that  evil  arises  from  the 
omission  of  prescribed  duties,  it  is  tantamount  to  saying 
that  the  \'eda  ccjnduces  to  no  good  and  is  therefore  no 
authority ;  for,  performance  and  non-performance  alike 
would  only  produce  pain.  This  would  further  lead  to  the 
absurd  ■■'•  conclusion  that  srtstra  or  revelation  is  creative,  not 
indicative,  a  conclusion  which  is  acceptable  to  none.  Hence 
no  karma  for  sa;/myasins;  and  hence  also  the  absurdity 
of  a  conjunction  of  knowledge  and  action. 

Conjunction  is  inconsistent  with  Arjuna's  question. 

Arjuna's  question  (in  iii,)  would  also  be  inexplicable.  If, 
in  the  Second  Discourse,  it  w'as  said  by  the  Lord  that  both 
knowledge  and  action  should  be  simultaneously  conjoined 
in  Arjuna  himself,  then  his  question  in  iii.  i.  cannot  be  ex- 
plained. If  it  was  taught  to  Arjuna  that  both  knowledge 
and  action  should  be  conjoined  in  him,  knowledge  which  is 
superior  to  action  must  certainly  have  been  meant  for  him. 
Then  there  could  be  no  occasion  for  the  question,  or  the 
blams,  which  is  implied  in  Arjuna's  words  "  then  Avhy  dost 
Thou,  O  Kesava,  direct  me  to  this  terrible  action?  "  (iii.  i.) 
It  can  by  no  means  be  supposed  that  knowledge,  the  supe- 
rior of  the  two,  was  forbidden  to  Arjuna  alone  by  the  Lord 
in  His  previous  teaching, — in  which  case  the  question  on  the 
part    of   Arjuna  distinguishing   (one  path  from  the   otherj 

*  For,  it  is   taiUaiuount  to  saying  tlieit       so  by   the  sastra     which   is  of    absolute 
an  abhava  which  in  itself  cannot  produce       authority, 
anuhhii^.  ii  iiivusttd  with  a  iiu\str  to  do 


might  arise.  If,  on  the  other  hand,  it  has  been  previously 
taught  by  the  Lord  that  knowledge  and  action  are  intend- 
ed for  two  distinct  classes  of  men  respectively,  on  the 
ground  that  a  simultaneous  de\'otion — on  the  part  of  one 
man — to  knowledge  and  action  was  impossible  owing  to 
their  mutual  opposition,  then  the  question  (in  iii.  i)  be- 
comes explicable.  Even  supposing  that  the  question  was 
asked  from  ignorance,  the  Lord's  answer  that  devotion  to 
knowledge  and  devotion  to  action  are  assigned  to  two 
distinct  classes  of  men  cannot  be  explained.  Neither  can 
the  reply  of  the  Lord  be  attributed  to  His  ignorance.  From 
this  very  answer  of  the  Lord — that  devotion  to  knowledge 
and  devotion  to  action  are  assigned  to  distinct  classes  of 
persons — follows  the  impossibility  of  a  conjunction  of 
knowledge  and  action. 

Wherefore  the  conclusion  of  the  Gita  and  of  all  the  Upa- 
nishads  is  this,  that  moksha  can  be  obtained  by  knowledge 
alone,  unaided  (by  action). 

If  a  conjunction  of  the  two  were  possible  (for  one  man), 
Arjuna's  request  to  the  Lord  to  teach  him  only  one  of  the 
tw^o,  j;mna  or  karma,  would  be  unaccountable.  The  Lord, 
moreover,  emphatically  teaches  the  impossibility  of  devotion 
to  j/zana  in  the  case  of  Arjuna,  in  the  words  "do  thou  there- 
fore perform  action  only."     (iv.  15). 

Which  is  better,   Knowledge  or  Action. 

Arjuna  said  : 
I.     If  it  be  thought  by  Thee  that   knowledge  is 
superior  to  action,  O  Janardana,  why  then   dost 
Thou,  O  Kesava,  direct  me  to  this  terrible  action  ? 
If  it  bad  been  meant  that  knowledge  and  action  should 

I — 2]  KAKMA-YOGA.  79 

be  conjoined,  then  the  means  of  salvation  would  be  one 
only ;  and,  in  that  case,  a  groundless  separation  of 
knowledge  from  action  would  have  been  made  by  Arjuna 
declaring  knowledge  to  be  superior  to  action.  If  the  two 
be  regarded  as  constituting  together  a  single  means  to  a 
single  end,  they  cannot  at  the  same  time  be  regarded  to  be 
distinct  as  producing  distinct  effects. '•'  Neither  could  we 
account  for  what  Arjuna  said — "  Why  then  dost  Thou 
direct  me  to  this  terrible  action  ?  " — as  if  meaning  to 
censure  the  Lord,  on  finding  that  He — for  what  reason 
Arjuna  could  not  see  clearly — had  exhorted  him  to  follow 
the  unwholesome  course  of  action  after  declaring  that 
knowledge  was  superior  to  action. 

Now,  if  a  conjunction  of  knowledge  with  the  smarta- 
karma  only  were  intended  for  all  by  the  Lord  and  under- 
stood by  Arjuna  as  so  intended,  how  could  we  then  justify 
the  words  of  Arjuna  j  "  why  dost  Thou  direct  me  to  this 
terrible  action  ? " 


2.  With  an  apparently  perplexing  speech,  Thou 
confusest  as  it  were  my  understanding.  Tell  me 
with  certainty  that  one  (wa})  by  which  I  may 
attain  bliss. 

No  doubt  the  I^ord  speaks  clearly  ;  still,  to  me  of  dull 
imderstanding  the  speech  of  the  Lord  appears  to  be  perplex- 

♦  This  may  be  explained  with  reference  ins  of  the  two  as  distinct  from  each  other 

to  the  present  case  thus: —  When   know-  might  find  some  justification. 

ledge  and  action  are  held  to  form  together  §  For.  then,  the   Lord  who  had  taught 

but  one  means  to  moksha,  they  cannot  at  a  conjunction  of  knowledge   and   action 

the  same  time  be   supposed  to   become  could  not  have   enjoined  mere  action  on 

distinct    as    producing    distinct    effects.  Arjuna,  and  so  there   would  be  no  occa- 

If  this  were  possible,   Arjuna's  consider-  sion  for  Arjuna's  complaint. 



ing.  Thereby  "Thou  confuses!  as  it  were  my  understand- 
ing." Arjuna  means — "  It  is  not  possible  that  Thou  wouldst 
confuse  me,  Thou  who  hast  undertaken  to  remove  my 
confusion  ?  Hence  I  say  '  Thou  confusest  ^5  it  were  my 
understanding.'"  He  goes  on: — If  Thou  thinkest  that 
knowledge  and  action,  which  are  intended  for  two  distinct 
classes  of  aspirants,  cannot  both  be  followed  by  one  and 
the  same  person,  then  teach  me  one  of  the  two,  knowledge 
or  action,  after  determining  (within  Thyself)  that  "  this  one 
alone  is  suited  to  Arjuna,  and  is  in  accordance  with  the 
state  and  powers  of  his  understanding  ;"  teach  me  that  one  of 
the  two,  knowledge  or  action,  by  which  I  may  attain  bliss. 

If  knowledge  had  been  intended  by  the  Lord  to  be  at 
least  an  accessory  to  devotion  to  action,  why  then  should 
Arjuna  wish  to  know  about  only  one  of  them.  It  had  not 
indeed  been  said  by  the  Lord  that  He  would  teach  him  one 
only  of  the  two,  knowledge  or  action,  but  not  both, — in 
which  case  alone  Arjuna  might  ask  for  one  only,  seeing  that 
both    would  not  be  taught  to  him. 

The  Paths  of  Knowledge  and  Action. 

The  Blessed  Lord  gives  the  following  reply,  which  is  in 
conformity  with  the  question  : 

The  Blessed  Lord  said  : 
3.     In  this  world  a  twofold  path  was  taught  by 
Me  at  first,  O  sinless  one  :  that  of  the  Sankhyas  by 
devotion  to  knowledge,  and  that  of  the  Yogins  by 
devotion  to  action. 

In  this  world — with  reference  to  the  people  of  the  three 
castes,  for  whom  alone  are  intended  the  teachings  of  the 
sastra  (the  Scripture), — a  twofold  nish/ha  or  path  of  devotion 

2 — 3]  KARMA-YOGA.  8l 

was  taught  by  Me,  the  Omniscient  Lord,  when  at  iirst,  at 
the  beginning  of  creation,  I  created  people  and  revived  the 
tradition  of  the  \''edic  doctrine  for  teaching  them  the  means 
of  attaining  worldly  prosperity  and  Bliss. — What  was  that 
twofold  path  of  devotion  ? — One  of  them  was  jwana-yoga,  the 
devotion  of  knowledge — knowledge  itself  being  yoga — 
suited  Jo  the  Sankhyas,  to  those  who  possessed  a  clear 
knowledge  of  the  Self  and  the  not-Self,  who  renounced 
the  world  from  the  Brahmacharya  (the  first  holy  order 
or  asrama),  who  determined  the  nature  of  things  in  the 
light  of  the  Vedantic  wisdom,  who  belonged  to  the  highest 
class  of  sawnyasins  known  as  the  Paramahawsas,  whose 
thoughts  ever  dwelt  on  Brahman  only.  The  other  was 
karma-yoga,  the  devotion  of  action, — action  itself  being 
Yoga  or  devotion, — suited  to  yogins,  to  karmins,  to  those 
who  were  inclined  to  action. 

If  it  had  already  been  taught  or  is  going  to  be  taught  by 
the  Lord  in  the  Gita — and  if  it  had  been  taught  in  the 
Vedas  as  well — that  both  knowledge  and  action  should  be 
conjoined  in  one  and  the  same  person  as  a  means  to  one 
and  the  same  end,  how  might  the  Lord  teach  Arjuna,  who 
approached  Him  as  a  beloved  pupil,  that  the  two  paths  of 
knowledge  and  action  were  respectively  intended  for  two 
distinct  classes  of  aspirants  ?  If,  on  the  other  hand,  w^e 
suppose,  that  the  Lord  meant  that  Arjuna,  after  hearing 
Him  teach  knowledge  and  action,  would  devote  him- 
self, of  his  own  accord,  to  both  of  them  simultaneously 
conjoined,  but  that  to  others  He  would  teach  that  the  two 
paths  were  intended  for  two  distinct  classes  of  aspirants, 
then  it  would  be  tantamount  to  saying  that  the  Lord  is 
subject   to  love   and  hatred  and  that   therefore    He   is   no 


82  THE    BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.    III. 

authority  (in  such  matters) :  which  is  absurd.  Wherefore 
by  no  argument  can  a  conjunction  of  knowledge  and  action 
be  proved. 

Karma-Yoga  leads  to  freedom  from  action. 

The  superiority  of  knowledge  to  action,  referred  to  by 
Arjuna  (iii.  i),  must  be  true,  because  there  is  no  denial  of  it. 
And  it  must  also  be  true  that  tjie  path  of  knowledge  is  in- 
tended for  sawmyasins  only.  Since  it  has  been  stated  that  the 
two  paths  are  intended  for  two  distinct  classes  of  aspirants, 
such  is  evidently  the  opinion  of  the  Lord.  Now  seeing  that 
Arjuna,  afflicted  as  he  was  at  heart  on  the  ground  that  the 
Lord  had  urged  him  to  action  which  caused  bondage,  was 
resolved  not  to  perform  action,  the  Lord  proceeds  with  iii.  4. 

Or,  the  connection  of  what  has  gone  before  with  tlie 
sequel  may  be  thus  stated :  As  devotion  to  knowledge 
and  devotion  to  action  are  mutually  opposed,  it  is  impossible 
for  one  man  to  resort  to  both  of  them  at  one  and  the  same 
time.  P'roni  this  it  may  follow  that  each  leads  to  the  goal 
quite  independently  of  the  other.  But  the  truth  is  this  : 
Devotion  to  action  is  a  means  to  the  end,  not  directly,  but 
only  as  leading  to  devotion  to  knowledge ;  whereas  the  latter, 
which  is  attained  by  means  of  devotion  to  action,  leads  to 
the  goal  directly,  without  extraneous  help.  To  show  this, 
the  Lord  says  : 

4.  Not  by  abstaining  from  action  does  man  win 
actionlessness,  nor  by  mere  renunciation  does  he 
attain  perfection. 

'Action'  refers  to  the  acts  of  worship  (Yaj^^a)  which,  per- 
formed in  this  or  a  previous  birth,  conduce  to  the  destruction 

3 — 4]  KARMA-YOGA.  83 

of  sins  committed  in  the  past  and  cause  purity  of  mind 
(sattva,  anta/[-kara«a)  ;  and  by  thus  purifying  mind,  they 
cause  knowledge  to  spring  up  and  lead  to  the  path  of  devo- 
tion to  knowledge.     It  is  said  in  the  Maliabharata  : 

"Knowledge  springs  in  men  on  the  destruction  of 
sinful  karma,  when  the  Self  is  seen  in  self  as  in  a  clean 
mirror."     (5ahtiparva,  204-S.) 

By  abstaining  from  action  man  cannot  attain  to  actionless- 
ness  (naishkarmya),  freedom  from  activity,  z.  ^.,  devotion  in 
the  path  of  knowledge,  the  condition  of  the  actionless  Self. 
From  the  statement  that  man  wins  not  freedom  from  acti- 
vity by  abstaining  from  action,  it  is  understood  that  by  the 
opposite  course,  i.e.,  by  performing  action,  man  attains 
freedom  from  activity.  For  what  reason,  then,  does  he  not 
attain  freedom  from  activity  by  abstaining  from  action  ? 
The  answer  follows: — For,  performance  of  action  is  a 
means  of  attaining  freedom  from  activity.  Certainly  there  is 
no  attaining  of  an  end  except  by  proper  means.  Devotion  to 
action  is  the  means  of  attaining  freedom  from  activity,  i.  c, 
devotion  to  knowledge, — as  taught  in  the  sruti  as  well  as 
here.  In  the  sruti,  for  instance,  karma-yoga  is  declared  to 
be  a  means  to  j/zana-yoga  in  the  following  passage : 

"  The    Brahma?ms   seek  to  know  this  (the  Self)   by 
the  study  of  the  \'edas,    by  yaj;?a  or  worship."     (Bri. 
I      Up.  4-4-2^)- 

In  this  passage,  karma-yoga  is  pointed  out  as  a  means  of 
reaUsing  the  Self  that  is  sought  after.  Here  (in  the  Bha- 
gavad-Gita)  the  following  passages  point  to  the  same  view  : 

"  But  without  Yoga,   O  mighty-armed,  renunciation 
is  hard  to  attain."     (v.  6.) 

84  THE  bhagavad-gIta.  [Dis.   III. 

"  Having   abandoned   attachment,    Yogins   perform 
action  for  the  purification  of  the  Self."     (v.  11.) 

"  Sacrifice,  gift   and  also    austerity  are  the   purifiers 
of  the  wise."     (xviii.  5.) 

Now,  the  following  objection  may  be  raised: — A  passage 
in  the  smnti, — "  Having  promised*  immunity  from  fear  to 
all  beings,  one  should  resort  to  freedom  from  activity 
(naishkarmya)," — shows  that  actionlessness  can  be  attained 
by  renouncing  the  prescribed  duties.  Our  experience  also 
favours  the  idea  that  freedom  from  activity  can  be  attained 
by  abstaining  from  action.  Of  Avhat  use  then  is  the  perform- 
ance of   action   to  one  who  seeks  for  freedom   from  action  ? 

In  reply  the  Lord  says  :  Nobody  can  attain  perfection, — 
i.e.,  freedom  from  activity,  or  devotion  in  the  path  of  know- 
ledge— by  mere  renunciation,  by  merely  abandoning  action, 
without  possessing  knowledge. 

The  ignorant  are  swayed   by  Nature. 

For  what  reason,  then,  does  a  person  not  attain  perfec- 
tion, /.  e.,  freedom  from  activity,  by  mere  renunciation 
unaccompanied  with  knowledge  ? — The  reason  thus  asked 
for  is  gi\'en  as  follows  : 

5.  None,  verily,  even  for  an  instant,  ever  remains 
doing  no  action  ;  for  every  one  is  driven   helpless 
to  action  by  the  energies  born  of  Nature. 
The     energies    ( guwas )    are    three,     Sattva,     Rajas   and 
Tamas.f     '  Every  one  '  means  every  living  being   that   is 

+    Having  promised  that  he  would  sa-  all  the  sacrificial  rites  enjoined  on   a  gri- 

crifice  no  animal,   that   he   would   do  no  hastha. 

harm  to  any  being  as  he  used  to  do  when  t  For  a  description  of  these,  vide  Dis- 

'.  he  was  a  gnhastha, i.e..  having  renounced  coursp  xiv. 


4 — 7]  KARMA-YOGA.  85 

ignorant,  (aj/?a),  who  knows  not  (tlie  Self) ;  for,  it  is  said  (of 
a  wise  man  "  that  he  is  otie)  "  who  is  unshaken  by  the 
energies  "  (xiv.  23.) 

Since  the  Sankhyas  have  been  distinguished  from  the 
Yogins  (iii.  3),  the  Karma-yoga,  devotion  to  action,  is  indeed 
meant  for  the  ignorant  only,  not  for  the  wise.  As  for  the 
wise  who  are  unshaken  by  the  gu?jas,  and  who  in  them- 
selves are  devoid  of  any  change  whatever,  the  Karma-yoga 
is  out  of  place.  And  this  was  explained  at  length  in  our 
comments  on  ii.  21. 

The  unenlightened  should  not  give  up  Karma  =  Yoga. 

Now,  for  him   who  knows  not  the  Self,  it  is  not   right  to   I 
neglect  the  duty  enjoined  on  him.     So,  the  Lord  says  : 

6.  He  who,  restraining  the  organs  of  action, 
sits  thinking  in  his  mind  of  the  objects  of  the 
sense?,  self-deluded,  he  is  said  to  be  one  of  false 

The  organs  of  action  are  the  hand,  &c.  The  self-deluded 
man,  the  man  whose  anta//-kara«a  is  thus  deluded,  is  called 
a  hypocrite,  a  man  of  sinful  conduct. 

7.  But  whoso,  restraining  the  senses  by  mind,  O 
Arjuna,  engages  in  Karma- Yoga,  unattached,  with 
organs   of  action,  he  is  esteemed. 

If  the  ignorant  man,  who  is  only  qualified  for  action,  per- 
forms action  with  the  hand,  with  the  organ  of  speech,    &c., 

•it  He  who  knows  the  Self  is  immovable  controlled  the   body  and   the  senses — he 

by  the  guiias.and  is  thereforu  said  to  have  alone  is  driven  to  action   by  the  gu;ias. — 

crossed  over  them.    The  man  who  knows  (.\.) 
not  the  Self  and  who  has  not  completely 


restraining  the  organs  of  knowledge  by  mind  and  unmindful 
of  the  result,  he  is  more  worthy  than  the  other,  who  is  a 


8.  '  Do  thou  perform  (thy)  bounden  duty  ;  for, 
action  is  superior  to  inaction.  And  even  the  main- 
tenance of  the  body  would  not  be  possible  for  thee 
by  inaction. 

Thy  bounden  duty  is  the  obligatory  (nitya)  act,  that  which 
one  is  bound  to  perform,  and  which  is  not  prescribed  (in  the 
scriptures)  as  a  means  to  a  specific  end.  Action  is  superior 
to  inaction  in  point  of  result.  By  inaction  you  cannot  attain 
success  in  the  life's  journey.  The  distinction  between 
action  and  inaction  is  thus  seen  in  our  own  experience. 

It  is  also  wrong  to  suppose  that  actions  lead  to  bondage 
and  that  they  should  not  therefore  be  performed. — ^\Vhy  ? 

g.  Except  in  the  case  of  action  for  Sacrifice's 
sake,  this  world  is  action-bound.  Action  for  the 
sake  Thereof,  do  thou,  O  son  of  Kunti,  perform, 
free  from  attachment. 

Sacrifice  (Yaj«a)  here  means  Is  vara,  the  Supreme  Lord. 
So,  the  sruti*  says  '  Yaj/za,  verily,  is  Vish7?u.'  '  This  world ' 
means  those  persons  who,  as  qualified  for  action  only,  are 
bound  to  do  it  and  who  accordingly  psrform  it.  The  world 
is  not  bound  by  action  done  for  the  Lord's  sake.  Perform 
action  without   attachment. 

For  the  following  reason  also,  action  should  be  done  by 
him  who  is  qualified  for  it : 

*  Taittiryya-Sa;;/hita,  1-7-4. 

7 — 12.]  KARMA-YOGA.  87 

10.  Having  first  created  mankind  together  with 
sacrilices,  the  Prajapati  said,  "By  this  shall  ye 
propagate  ;  let  this  be  to  you  the  cow  of  plenty. 

Mankind  :  composed  of  three  castes.  Fiyst :  at  the  begin- 
ning of  creation.  The  coiu  of  plenty  :  the  cow  which  yields 
all  desires. 

How  can  this  be  achieved  by  sacrifice  ? 

11.  \\'ith  this  do  ye  nourish  the  Gods,  and  the 
Gods  shall  nourish  you  :  thus  nourishing  one 
another,  ye  shall  attain  the  supreme  good. 

"By  this  sacrifice  ye  nourish  the  Gods  such  as  Indra. 
The  Gods  shall  nourish  you  with  rain,  &c."  'The  supreme 
good'  is  the  attainment  of  the  knowledge  of  Brahman  in  due 
course.     Or,  the  'supreme  good'  may   mean  'svarga.'"' 


12.  ^'Nourished  by  the  sacrifice,  the  Gods  shall 
indeed  bestow  on  you  the  enjoyments  ye  desire." 
Whoso  enjoys — without  offering  to  Them — Their 
gifts,  he  is  verily  a  thief. 

Pleased  with  your  sacrifices,  the  Gods  shall  bestow  on  you 
all  enjoyments,  including  women,  cattle,  children,  &c.  He 
who  enjoys  what  is  given  by  Gods,  i.e.,  he  who  gratifies 
the  cravings  of  his  own  body  and  senses!  without  discharg- 

*  'The  supreme   Kood'   here  spoken  of  whereas  hi  the  latter  case  it  leads  direct- 

iii:iy  be  either  the  knowledge  of  Brahman  ly  to  svarga. 

or  svarga.  The  result  depends  upon  the  +  '•  c.,  he  who  is  bent  upon  feeding  his 

motive  of  the   aspirant,   according  as  he  own  body  and  senses  w^ithout   satisfying 

desires  salvation  or   worldly  enjoyment.  ihe  Gods,  the   A'ishis   and  the  Pitris  rcs- 

lu  the  former  case,  the  sacrifice  leads  to  pectively  by  sacrilicc,  by  the  ^ludy  of  thu 

purity  of  heart  in  this   or  a  subsequent  sacred  scriptures,  and  by  oflspring. 
brith  and  ultimately  leads  to  knowledge. 

88  THE    BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.    Ill 

ing  the  debt  due  to  the  Gods,  is  a  thief  indeed,  a  robber  of 
the  property  of  the  Gods,  &c. 

On  the  other  hand, 

13.  The  righteous,  who  eat  the  remnant  of 
the  sacrifice,  are  freed  from  all  sins  ;  but  sin  do 
the  impious  eat  who  cook  for  their  own  sakes. 

Those  who,  after  performing  sacrifices  to  the  Gods,  &c., 
eat  the  remains  of  the  food— which  is  called  amnta, 
ambrosia — are  freed  from  all  sins  committed  at  the  five  '•• 
places  of  animal-slaughter  (such  as  the  fire-place),  as  well 
as  from  those  sins  which  result  from  involuntary  acts  of 
injury  and  other  causes.  But  as  to  the  others,  who  are  selfish 
and  cook  food  for  their  own  sakes,  what  they  eat  is  sin  itself, 
while  they  themselves  are  sinners. 

The  wheel  of  the  world  should  be  set  going. 

For  the  following  reason  also  should  action  be  performed 
by  him  who  is  qualified  for  action.  For,  it  is  action  that 
sets  the  wheel  of  the  world  going. — How  ? — -The  answer 
follows  : 

14-15.  From  food  creatures  come  forth  ;  the 
production  of  food  is  from  rain  ;  rain  comes  forth 
from  sacrifice  ;  sacrifice  is  born  of  action  ;  know 
thou   that  action  comes  from  Brahman   and  that 

=?  The  five  places   referred   to  are  the  five    maha-yajuas    or     great    sacrifices 

fire-place,    the    water-pot,    the    cutting,  which  every  dvija  ought  to  perform,  and 

grinding  and  sweeping  apparatus.  These  "'hich  are  intended  to  satisfy  the  Bhutas, 

are  the  five   places   where   injury  to  life  ^^"^     ^'^^''^'     ■"'^"-   ^^^    ^°''^'    ^"'^  ''^'^ 

is  daily  committed.- The   sins  committed  Pi"''S-    Vide  Uanu Ail  67— 7:. 
here  are  said  to  be   washed   away  by  the 


12  — 16.]  ■     KARMA-YOGA.  89 

Brahman  comes  from  the  Imperishable.  Therefore, 
the  all-pervading  Brahman  ever  rests  in  sacrifice. 

All  living  creatures,  it  is  evident,  are  born  from  food, 
which,  when  eaten,  is  converted  into  blood  and  semen. 
Rain  proceeds  from  sacrifice  as  taught  in  the  following  text 
from  the  smnti : 

"  The  offering  thrown  into  the  fire  reaches  the  sun  ; 
from  the  sun  comes  rain  ;  from  rain  food  ;  and  from 
this  (food)  all  creatures."     {Maim,  iii.  76). 

Yaj/;a  or  sacrifice  here  spoken  of  refers  to  what  is  called 
apurva;-''  and  this  apurva  is  the  result  of  the  activities  of 
the  sacrificer  and  his  priests  (ritviks)  engaged  in  a  sacrifice. 
These  activities  are  enjoined  in  the  Veda  (Brahman),  and 
the  Veda  comes  from  the  Imperishable,  the  Paramatman, 
the  Highest  Self.  Because  the  Veda  has  arisen  from  the 
Highest  Self, — the  Akshara,  the  Imperishable,  as  the  breath 
comes  out  of  a  man,  therefore,  the  Veda,  though  all-com- 
prehending as  revealing  all  things,  ever  rests  in  sacrifice, 
i.  e.,  it  treats  mainly  of  sacrifices  and  the  mode  of  their 

16.  He  who  follows  not  here  the  wheel  thus 
set  in  motion,  who  is  of  sinful  life,  indulging  in 
senses,  he  lives  in  vain,  O  son  of  Pritha. 

He  who  ought  to  perform  action,  but  who,  indulging  in 
sensual  pleasures,  does  not  follow  the  wheel  of  the  world 

*  The  unseen  form  \vhich  a  sacrifice  is  suits  become  manifested  ;  it  being,  in 
said  to  assume  between  the  time  of  its  short,  the  connecting  link  between  the 
performance  and  the  time  when  its  re-      two,  the  cause  and  the  effect. 


go  THE  bhagavad-gIta.  [Dis.  Ill 

thus  set   revolving  by   Isvara.  on  the  basis  of  the  Veda  and 
sacrifices,  ■■'-  he  lives  in  vain. 

The  main  drift,  therefore,  of  this  section  (iii.  4-16)  is  that 
action  should  be  performed  by  the  ignorant  man,  for  whom 
it  is  intended.  In  iii.  4-8,  it  was  taught  that  till  he  attains 
the  qualification  for  Devotion  to  the  knoAvledge  of  the  Self, 
the  man  who  knows  not  the  Self  and  is  therefore  qualified 
(for  action  only)  should  resort  to  Devotion  to  action  as  a 
means  of  attaining  Devotion  to  knowledge  ;  and,  further, 
there  were  incidentally  propounded  (in  iii.  9-16)  many 
reasons  why  the  man  who  knows  not  the  Self  and  is 
(therefore)  qualified  for  action  should  perform  it.  Mention, 
too,  has  been  made  of  evils  arising  from  a  neglect  of  action. 

Karma  =  Yoga  is  not  meant  for  the  Self=knower. 

Now,  the  Lord  Himself  supposes  Arjuna  to  ask  the  fol- 
lowing question:  Is  the  wheel,  thus  set  in  motion,  to  be  fol- 
lowed by  all,  or  by  him  only  who  has  not  yet  attained  to 
devotion  in  the  path  of  knowledge  which  the  Sankhyas  or 
Self-knowers  tread  and  which  is  attainable  by  the  ignorant 
by  means  of  devotion  in  the  path  of  action  already  des- 
cribed ?  In  answer  to  this  question,  or  with  a  view  to  afford, 
of  his  own  accord,  a  clear  understanding  of  the  teaching  o 
the  sastra,  He  proceeds  to  show  that  what  is  intended  to  be 
taught  in  the  Gita-sastra  is  the  same  truth  that  is  embodied 
in  the  following  passage  of  the  sruti  : 

"  The  brahma«as  (the   devotees  of  the  Brahman,  the 
Self),  knowing   this,  the    Self,  and  free   from    illusory 

*.(.«.,   he    who   does    not   follow   the      .ionning  the   sacrifices  therein   enjoined, 
wheel  by  studying   the   Vedas  and  per-      as  commanded  by  /svara. 

1 6 — 1 8]  KARMA-YOGA.  9I 

knowledge,  shake  off  all  desires  of  progeny,  &c.,  cheri- 
shed, of  necessity,  by  those  who  are  still  subject  to 
illusion;  and  they  lead  a  mendicant  life  for  the  barest 
r  necessaries  of  life.  They  have  nothing  else  to  do  than 
resort  to  devotion  to  Self-knowledge."  (Bri.  Up.  3-5-1). , 

17.  That  man,  verily,  who  rejoices  only  in  the 
Self,  who  is  satisfied  with  the  Self,  who  is  content 
in  the  Self  alone, — for  him  there  is  nothing  to  do. 

But  that  man  — a  sa;«nyasin,  the  Sankhya,  one  devoted 
to  Self-knowledge — whose  joy  is  in  the  Self,  not  in  the 
objects  of  the  senses  ;  v.'ho  is  satisfied  only  with  the  Self, 
not  with  food-essence,  &c.  ;  who  is  contented  in  the  Self ; — 
all  others  derive  contentment  from  possession  of  external 
things,  whereas,  disregarding  these,  he  is  content  in  the  Self 
only  and  has  no  desire  for  anything; — for  such  a  man,  for 
the  man  who  knows  the  Self,  there  is  nothing  to  do. 


18.  For  him,  there   is   here   no   interest  what- 
ever in  what  is  done  or  what  is  not  done.     Nor  is 
there  in  all  beings  any  one  he  should  resort  to  for    I 
any  object. 

For  the  man  thus  rejoicing  in  the  Self,  no  purpose  is 
served  by  action. — Does,  then,  any  evil  called  sin  (pratya- 
vaya)  arise  from  inaction  ?— No  evil  whatever,  either  by 
way  of  incurring  sin,  or  by  way  of  losing  the  Self,  arises  in 
this  world  from  inaction.  Nor  is  there,  in  all  beings  from 
Brahma  (Prajapati)  down  to  the  sthavara  or  immovable 
objects,  any  whose  support  he  has  to  gain  by  action.  He 
has  no  object  whatever  to  gain,  for  which  he_has  to  depend 



upon  any  particular  being  :  if  he  were  to  have  any  object 
in  view,  then  he  would  have  to  exert  himself  to  gain  that 

Arjuna  qualified  for  Karma  yoga. 

You  have  not  attained  to  the  right  knowledge,  which 
corresponds  to  the  all-spreading  flood  of  water  {vide  ii.  46). 

19  Therefore,  without  attachment,  constantly 
perform  the  action  which  should  be  done  ;  for,  per- 
forming action  without  attachment,  man  reaches 
the  Supreme. 

Performing  action,  without  attachment,  for  the  sake  of 
the  Isvara,  man  attains  moksha,  through  attaining  purity 
of  mind  (sattva-suddhi). 

The  wise  should  set  an  example  to  the  masses. 

For  the  following  reason  also  (shouldst  thou  perform 

20  By  action  only,  indeed,  did  Janaka  and 
others  tr}-  to  attain  perfection.  Even  with  a  view 
to  the  protection  of  the  masses  thou  shouldst  per- 
form (action). 

The  wise  kshatriyas  of  old,  such  as  Janaka  and  Asvapati''' 
tried  by  action  alone  to  attain  moksha  (sawsiddhi).  If  they 
were  persons  possessed  of  right  knowledge,  then  we  should 
understand  that,  since  they  had  been  engaged  in  works  they 
tried  to  reach  moksha  with  action,  i.  e.,  without  abandoning 

*  \ide  Chhandogya-Upanishad  v.  11.4,  et.  seq. 

1 8 — 21.]  KARMA-YOGA.  93 

action,  ■■'•  with  a  view  to  set  an  example  to  the  world.  If, 
on  the  other  hand,  such  men  as  Janaka  were  persons  who 
had*  not  attained  right  knowledge,  then,  (we  should  under- 
stand), they  tried  to  attain  moksha  through  action  which  is 
the  means  of  attaining  purity  of  mind  (sattva-suddhi). 

If  you  think  that  obligatory  works  were  performed  by 
the  ancients  such  as  Janaka  ^because  they  were  ignorant, 
and  that  it  does  not  follow  from  that  fact  alone  that  action 
should  be  performed  by  another  who  possesses  right  know- 
ledge and  has  done  all  his  duties, — even  then,  as  subject 
to  your  prarabdha-karma  (the  karma  which  has  led  you  to 
this  birth  as  a  kshatriya),  and  having  regard  also  to  the 
purpose  of  preventing  the  masses  from  resorting  to  a  wrong 
path,  you  ought  to  perform  action. 

Who  should  secure  the  welfare  of  the  world  ?  And  how  ? 
The  answer  follows  : 

21.  Whatsoever  a  great  man  does,  that  alone 
the  other  men  do  ;  whatever  he  sets  up  as  the 
standard,  that  the  world  follows. 

Whatever  authority  the  chief  among  men  follows,  whether 
in  relation  to  the  spiritual  or  temporal  matters,  the  same  is 
regarded  as  the  authority  by  his  followers. 

If  you  have  a  doubt    even  as  regards   the  necessity  there 

*  Tho-,;°h  such  persons  as  Janaka  ware  birth)  which  caused   them  to   be  born  as 

men    of  right   knowledge,     they    had  no  kshatriyas,  they   went  on   in   their  spiri- 

right  to  enter  the  fourth  order  of  sa);mya-  tual  career  without     renouncing   works, 

sa,  as  they  were  kshatriyas.  In  obedience  lest,  otherwise,   the  masses  would  follow 

therefore  to    their  prarabdha-karma(i.f.,  their   example.    It   is,   however,     proper 

the   karma   which  led   them  to   that  birth  that  they  should  attain   moksha  in  virtue 

and  which  had  to  be  worked    out  in  that  of  their  right  knowledge. 



is  for  the  protection  of  the  masses,  why  do  you  not  observe 

22     I  have    nothing   whatsoever   to  achieve    in 
the  three  worlds,  O  son  of  P;'itha,  nor  is  there  any- 
thing unattained    that    should   be  attained;  yet  I 
engage  in  action. 
I  have  nothing  to  achieve,  for,  there  is  nothing  unattained. 

23.  For,  should  I  not  ever  engage  in  action, 
unwearied,  men  would  in  all  matters  follow  My 
path,  O  son  of  Pritha. 

My  :  I  being  the  chief  among  men. 

And  what  harm  is  there  in  that  ? — The  Lord  says  : 

24.  These  worlds  would  be  ruined  if  I  should 
not  perform  action  ;  I  should  be  the  cause  of 
confusion  of  castes,  and  should  destroy  these 

If  I  should  not  perforni  action,  then  there  would  be  no 
action  conducive  to  tlie  continuance  of  the  universe,  and 
all  these  worlds  would  fall  into  ruin.  Moreover,  I  would  be 
the  author  of  confusion  of  castes,  and  thereby  destroy  these 
creatures.  Thus,  though  working  for  the  welfare  of  the 
creatures,  I  would  bring  about  their  ruin, — which  would 
be  unbecoming  of  Me,  their  lord. 

The  wise  man's  action  as  contrasted  with  that  of 

the  ignorant. 

Suppose,  on  the  other  hand,  you — or  suppose  (for  that 
matter)  any  other  man  thinks  that  he  has  achieved  his  ends 

ir  t.  e.,  why  do  you  not  follow  My  ex-  from  going  astray  by  setting  an  example 
ample   and   try    to   prevent   tlie   masses       yourself. 

21 — 27.]  KARMA-YOCA.  95 

and  has  realised  the  Self,  even  he  should  work  i  for  the  wel- 
fare  of  otliers,  though  for  liimself  he  may  have  nothing  to  do. 

25.  As  ignorant  men  act  attached  to  work,  O 
iiharata,  so  should  the  wise  man  act,  unattached, 
from  a  wish  to  protect  the  masses. 

The  ignorant  expect  the  result  of  their  action  thus:  "The 
result  of  this  action  shall  accrue  to  me."  The  wise  man  :  he 
who  knows  the  Self. 

■  /  For  me,  or  for  any  other  person  who,  knowing  the  Self, 
thus  seeks  the  welfare  of  the  world,  there  is  nothing  to  do 
except  it  be  with  a  view  to  that  welfare  of  the  world  at 
large.  ,  To  such  a  man  who  knows  the  Self,  the  following 
advice  is  oflfered  : 

26.  Let  no  wise  man  cause  unsettlement  in  the 
minds  of  the  ignorant  who  are  attached  to  action  ; 
he  should  make  them  do  all  actions,  himself  ful- 
filling them  with  devotion. 

An  ignorant  man  who  is  attached  to  action  believes  "  I 
should  do  this  action  and  enjoy  its  result."  No  wise  man 
should  unsettle  that  firm  belief. — What  then  should  he  do  ? — 
Himself  doing  deligently  and  well  the  actions  which  the 
ignorant  have  to  do,  he  should  make  them  do  those  actions. 

In  what  way  is  an  ignorant  man  attached  to  actions  ? 

27.  Actions  are  wrought  in  all  cases  by  the 
energies  of  Nature.  He  whose  mind  is  deluded  by 
egoism  thinks  '  I  am  the  doer.' 

Nature  (Praknti,  Pradhana)  is  the  equipoised  state  of 
the    three  gu«as  or  energies,  viz.,  sattva   (goodness),  yajas 

§  Even  he  should  perform  action  in  view  of  the  welfare  of  others. 


96  THE  BttAGAVAD-GlTA,  [DiS.  III. 

(activity),  tamas  (darkness).  It  is  by  the  gu/ias  or  the  modi- 
fications of  Nature,  manifesting  themselves  as  the  body 
and  the  senses,  that  all  our  actions,  conducive  to  temporal 
and  spiritual  ends,  are  done.  The  man  whose  mind  (anta/j- 
ksLVSLua. )  is  variously  deluded  by  aha;/2kara,  by  egoism 
identifying  the  aggregate  of  the  body  and  the  senses  with 
the  Self,  i.  e.,  who  ascribes  to  himself  all  the  attributes  of 
the  body  and  the  senses  and  thus  thoroughly  identifies 
himself  with  them — he,  by  nescience,  sees  actions  in  him- 
self: as  regards  every  action,  he   thinks  "  I  am    the    doer." 

But  as  regards  the  wise  man  : 

28.  But  he  who  knows  the  truth,  O  mighty- 
armed,  about  the  divisions  of  the  energies  and 
(their)  functions,  is  not  attached,  thinking  that 
the  energies  act  upon  the  energies. 

He  who  is  versed  in  the  classification  of  the  energies 
(gu»as)  and  their  respective  functions  holds  that  the  ener- 
gies as  sense-organs  move  amid  the  energies  as  sense- 
objects,  but  not  the  Self.  Thus  holding,  he  forms  no 
attachment  (for  actions). 


29.  Those  deluded  by  the  energies  of  Nature  are 
attached  to  the  functions  of  the  energies. ^,/He 
who  knows  the  All  should  not  unsettle  the  unwise 
who  know  not  the  All. /^  • 

The  foolish  believe  "  we  do  action  for  the  sake  of  its 
result."  These  men  who  are  attached  to  action  look  only 
to  the  results  of  their  actions.  The  man  who  knows  the 
All — the  man  who  knows  the  Self — should  not  of  himself 


7 — 32.]  KARMA-YOGA.  97 

unsettle  such  men,  /.  ^.,  he  should  not  disturb  their  convic- 

How  an  aspirant  for  Moksha  should  do  actions- 
How   then  should  action  be   performed   by  the  ignorant 

man  who  seeks   moksha   and  who  is   qualified  for   action 

only  ?     The  answer  follows  : 

30.  Renouncing  all  actions  in  Me,  with  thy 
thought  resting  on  the  Self,  being  free  from  hope, 
free  from  selfishness,  devoid  of  fever,  do  thou  fight. 

To  me,  Vasudeva,  the  Divine  Being,  the  Supreme  Lord,  \ 
the  Omniscient,  the   Self  of  all,  surrender  all  actions,  with 
the  wise  thought  that  "I,  the  agent,  do  this  for  the  Isvara's 
sake  as  His  liege."     Fevcy  :  anguish,  grief. 

31,  Men  who  constantly  practise  this  teaching 
of  Mine  with  faith  and  without  cavilling,  they  too 
are  liberated  from  actions. 

Men  who  always  follow  this  teaching  of  Mine  without 
cavilling,  /.  e.,  without  cherishing  any  feeling  of  envy  to- 
wards Me,  Vasudeva,  the  Supreme  IMaster  (Parama-Guru) 
— they  too  are  released  from  actions,  i.  e.,  from  dharma 
and  a-dharma,  from  the  merit  and  demerit  of  actions. 

32  But  those  who,  carping  at  this,  My  teaching, 
practise  it  not, — know  them  as  deluded  in  all  know- 
ledge, as  senseless  men  doomed  to  destruction. 

Influence  of  man's  nature  on  his  conduct. 

Then,  why  do  they,  not  following  Thy  doctrine,  perform 
others'  duties  and  neglect  their  own  ?Thus  opposed  to  Thee, 


98  TKE    BHAGAVAD-GiXA.  [DiS.    Ill' 

why  are  they  not  afraid  of  the  sin  of  transgressing  Thy  com- 
mand ? 

33.  Even  the  man  of  knowledge  acts  in  conform- 
ity with  his  own  nature  ;  (all)  beings  follow  (their) 
nature;  what  shall  coercion  avail  ? 

Nature  (praknti)  is  the  sawskara  (the  latent  self-repro- 
ductive impression  of  the  past  acts  of  dharma  and  a-dharma) 
manifesting  itself  at  the  commencement  of  the  present  birth. 
Even  the  man  of  knowledge  acts  according  to  his  own 
nature  ;  it  needs  no  saying  that  an  ignorant  man  acts  ac- 
cording to  his  own  nature.  Thus  all  living  beings  follow 
their  own  nature.  What  shall  coercion  in  the  shape  of 
prohibition  avail  ?  That  is  to  say,  to  Me  or  to  anybody  else, 
nature  is  irresistible. 

Scope  for  man's   personal  exertion. 

(Objection) : — If  every  beiftg  acts  according  to  its  own 
nature  only, — -and  there  is  none  that  has  no  nature  of  its 
own, — then,  there  being  possibly  no  scope  for  personal 
exertion,  (purushakara),  the  Teaching  (sastra)  would  be 
quite  purposeless. 

(Ansicei')  : — The  Lord  replies  as  follows  : 

34.  Love  and  hate  lie  towards  the  object  of 
each  sense  ;  let  none  become  subject  to  these  two  ; 
for,  the}'  are  his  enemies. 

As  regards  all  sense-objects,  such  as  sounds,  there  neces- 
sarily arises  in  each  sense  love  for  an  agreeable  object, 
and  aversion  for  a  disagreeable  object.  Now  I  shall  tell  you 
where  lies  the  scope  for  personal  exertion  and  for  the  Tea- 
ching (sastra).    /He  who  would  follow  the  Teaching  should 


33—35]  KARMA-YOGA.  99 

at  the  very  commencement  rise  above  the  sway  of  affection 
and  aversion.  For,  what  we  speak  of  as  the  nature  (prakriti) 
of  a  person  draws  him  to  its  course  only  through  love  and 
aversion.  He  then  neglects  his  own  duties  and  sets  about 
doing  those  of  others.  When,  on  the  other  hand,  a  person 
restrains  these  feelings  by  means  of  their  enemy",  then  he 
will  become  mindful  of  the  Teaching  only,  no  longer  sub- 
ject to  his  own  nature.  Wherefore,  let  none  come  under  the 
sway  of  these  two  ;  for,  they  are  his  adversaries,  obstacles 
to  his  progress  in  the  right  path,  like  thieves  on  the  road. 

Now,  the  man  who  is  led  by  love  and  aversion  may  mis- 
understand the  Teaching  ;  he  may  think  that  one  man 
may  follow  the  duty  (dharma)  of  another  because  the  latter 
is  also  a  duty.     But  it  is  not  right  to  think  so  : 

35.  Better  one's  own  duty,  though  devoid  of 
merit,  than  the  duty  of  another  well  discharged. 
Better  is  death  in  one's  own  duty ;  the  duty  of 
another  is  productive  of  danger. 

For  a  man  to  die  doing  his  own  duty  though  devoid  of 
merit  is  better  than  for  him  to  live  doing  the  duty  of  another 
though  perfectly  performed..  For,  the  duty  of  another 
leads  to  danger,  such  as  hell  (naraka). 

Desire  is  the  enemy  of  man. 

Though  the  source  of  evil  has  been  pointed  out  in  ii.  62, 
&c.,  and  in  iii.  34,  yet  with  a  view  to  elicit  a  concise  and 
clear  statement  of  what  was  but  desultorily  and  vaguely 
expressed, — for,  the  exact  cause  being  known,  he  might 
exert  himself  to  exterminate  it, — Arjuna  asks  : 

*  Viveka-jnana  or  Right  knowledge  is       jnana  or  illusory  knowledge,  the  source 
the    enemy;  for,  it  is  inimical  to  mi7/y<i-       ofaflection  and  aversion. 

100  THE    BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.  III. 

Arjuna  said : 

36.  But  by  what  dragged  on,  O  Varshneya, 
does  a  man,  though  reUictant,  commit  sin,  as  if 
constrained  by  force  ? 

Dragged  on  and  constrained  :  as  a  servant  by  the  king. 
Vdrshneya  :  one  born  in  the  family  of  the  Vnsh«is. 

The  Lord  says  :  Listen,  I  shall  tell  you  who  that  enemy 
is,  of  whom  you  ask, — who  the  source  of  all  evil  is  : 

[Vasudeva  is  here  called  the  Lord  (  Bhagavat ),  because 
He  is  one  in  whom  the  six  attributes  of  unimpeded  domi- 
nion, &c.,  ever  abide  collectively  and  in  perfection,  and  who 
possesses  a  complete  knowledge  of  the  origin  of  the  uni- 
verse &c.     Says  the  Vish;m-Pura»a  : 

"  'Bhaga'  means  the  six  attributes — perfect  dominion, 
might,  glory,  splendour,  dispassion  and  salvation." 
fvi.  5-74). 

*'  He  is  called  the  Lord  (I^hagavat),  who  knows  the 
origin  and  the  end,  the  coming  and  going  of  beings, 
what  is  wisdom  and  what  is  ignorance."     (vi.  5-78.)] 

The  Blessed  Lord  said  : 

37.  It  is  Desire,  it  is  Wrath,  born  of  the  energy 
of  Rajas,  all-devouring,  all-sinful;  that,  know  thou, 
is  the  foe  here. 

The  enemy  of  the  whole  world  is  desire,  from  which  all 
the  evil  comes  to  living  beings.  When  obstructed  by  some 
cause,  desire  is  transformed  into  wrath.  Whence  wrath 
is  desire  itself.  It  is  born  of  the  energy  of  Rajas. — Or, 
desire  itself  is  the  cause  of  the  energy  of  Rajas  ;  for,  when 
desire  arises,  it  rouses  the  Rajas  and  urges  the  person  to 


3^ — 39]  KARMA-YOGA.  lOI 

action.  We  often  hear  the  cry  of  riiisejr.ble  pei'sons^who 
are  engaged  in  servitude,  &c.,  under  the  impulse  of  the 
Rajas, — saying  '  I  have  been  led  to  act  so  by  desire.'  It  is 
very  sinful ;  for  it  is  only  when  urged  by  desire  that  a 
man  commits  sin.  Wherefore,  know  that  this  desire  is 
man's  foe  here  in  sawsara. 

Desire  enshrouds  wisdom. 

He  now  illustrates  how  it  is  our  foe : 

38.  As  fire  is  surrounded  by  smoke,  as  a  mirror 
b}'  rust,  as  the  fcetus  is  enclosed  in  the  womb,  so 
is  this  covered  by  it. 

As  a  bright  fire  is  surrounded  by  dark  smoke  co-existent 
with  it so  this  is  covered  with  desire. 

What  is  the  thing  referred  to  by  '  this '  and  which  is 
covered  with  desire  ? — The  answer  follows  : 

39.  Covered,  O  son  of  Kunti,  is  wisdom  by  this 
constant  enemy  of  the  wise,  in  the  form  of  desire, 
which  is  greed}'  and  insatiable. 

The  wise  man  knows  even  before  suffering  the  conse- 
quence, that  he  has  been  led  by  desire  to  evil  ways,  and 
therefore  he  feels  ever  miserable.  Whence  desire  is  a  con- 
stant enemy  of  the  wise,  not  of  the  ignorant.  For,  the  latter 
regards  desire  as  a  friend  at  the  time  he  thirsts  for  objects, 
and  it  is  only  when  suffering  results  from  it, — but  not  be- 
fore,— that  he  learns  the  truth  that  he  has  been  rendered 
miserable  by  desire.     Wherefore  it  is  a  constant  enemy  of 

the  wise  alone It  is  insatiable  and  greedy  ;    it  never 

has  enough,  i.e.,    it  finds    nothing   enough    for   itself,  i.e., 
there  is  no  limit  to  its  consuming  power. 


01  TH£    BHAGAVAI>-GtTA..  JDlS.    III. 

The  soHt  of  desire. 

He  now  tells  us  where  is  seated  desire  which,  by  en^'elop- 
ing  wisdom,  forms  the  eiiemj'  of  the  whole  world.  The 
seat  of  the  enemj-  being  knov^Ti,  it  is  e^y  to  kill  it. 

40.  The  senses,  mind,  and  reason  ai'e  said  to 
ht  its  saaal ;  veiling  wisdom  through  these,  it 
deludes  the  embodied. 

Its  satt:  the  seat  of  desire.  Tliesc  :  the  senses,  mind  (manas), 
and  reason  (buddhi). 

Mow  to  kill  out  desire. 


^..  Therefore,  O  Jord  of  the  Bharatas,  restrain 
the  senses  "first,  do  thou  cast  off  this  sinful  thing 
wrhich  is  destructrve  of  knowledge  and  wisdom. 

"[»mna  is  the  knowledge  of  the  Self  and  other  things 
acquired  from  the  5astra  (scripture)  and  from  a  teacher 
(acharya).  Wi-jndiia  is  the  personal  experience  of  the  things 
so  taught.  Do  thou  cast  off  from  you  the  destroyer  of  jiiana 
and  vijnana  which  lead  to  the  highest  good. 

It  has  been  taught,  '•  first  master  the  senses,  and  cast  off 
desire,  thy  enemy."  Now  it  may  be  asked, — Where  should 
one  take  one's  stand  and  cast  off  desire?  The  answer 
follows  : 

42.  They  say  that  the  senses  are  superior  : 
superior  to  the  senses  is  mind  :  superior  to  mind 
is  reason  ;  one  who  is  even  superior  to  reason 
is  He. 

40 — 43]  KARMA-YOGA.  IO3 

The  senses  are  five,  the  sense  of  liearing,  etc.  When 
compared  with  the  physical  body,  which  is  gross,  external, 
and  limited,  the  senses  are  superior  as  they  are  comparative- 
ly more  subtle  and  internal,  and  have  a  more  extensive 
sphere  of  action.  So  say  the  wise.  Superior  to  the  senses 
is  mind  (manas,  the  impulsive  nature)  which  is  composed 
of  thoughts  and  desires,  of  errors  and  doubts,  (sa«kalpa  and 
vikalpa).  Superior  to  mind  is  reason  (buddhi)  characterized 
by  determination  (nischaya).  So,  He  who  is  behind  all  things 
visible,  inclusive  of  reason,  the  Dweller  in  the  body, whom — 
it  has  been  said — desire,  seated  m  the  senses  and  other 
ijuarters,  bewilders  by  enveloping  wisdom, — He,  the  Self, 
the  witness  of  reason,  is  superior  to  reason. 

43.  Thus  knowing  Him  who  is  superior  to 
reason,  subduing  the  self  by  the  self,  slay  thou, 
O  mighty-armed,  the  enemy  in  the  form  of  desire, 
hard  to  conquer. 

Thus  understanding  the  Self  who  is  superior  to  reason 
and  subduing  the  self  by  the  self,  i.  e.,  steadily  composing 
the  self  by  means  of  the  self,  ■■'•  do  thou  slay  desire.  It  is 
difficult  to  conquer  desire,  on  account  of  its  compjex  and 
incomprehensible  nature. 


*  The  regenerated  or  purified   mind        self-composure  (manas-samiidhana)— (A), 
(self,    manas)  is  the  means  of  attaining 


Tradition  of  Jnana  =  Yoga. 

This  Yoga  of  Devotion  to  knowledge  taught  in  the  last 
two  Discourses,  accompanied  with  renunciation  and  attain- 
ed by  means  of  Karma- Yoga, — this  Yoga  in  which  the 
Vedic  teaching  regarding  the  life  of  activity  and  retirement 
(Pravntti  and  Niv/'itti)  is  comprehended, — it  is  this  Yoga 
which  forms  the  subject  of  the  Lord's  teaching  throughout 
the  Gita.  Thinking,  therefore,  that  the  Vedic  Doctrine  has 
been  concluded,  He  extols  it  by  relating  its  pedigree. 

The  Blessed  Lord  said  : 

I.  I  taught  this  imperishable  Yoga  to  Vivasvat  ; 
Vivasvat  taught  it  to  Manu  ;  Manu  taught  it  to 

This  Yoga,  treated  of  in  the  two  preceding  Discourses,  I 
taught  to  the  Sun  (Vivasvat)  at  the  commencement  of 
Evolution  in  order  to  infuse  strength  into  the  kshatriyas,  the 
rulers  of  the  world.  It  is  only  when  possessed  of  the  strength 
of  this  Yoga,  that  they  can  protect  the  brahma;ias,  the 
spiritual  class.  And  when  the  spiritual  and  ruling  classes 
are  well  maintained,  it  is  possible  to  maintain  the  world. 
That  Yoga  is  imperishable,  because  of  its  imperishable 
results.  Indeed,  Moksha,  the  fruit  of  this  Yoga  of  complete 
devotion  to  right  knowledge,  never  perishes.  Vivasvat 
taught  it  to  ^lanu;  and  Manu  taught  it  to  his  son  Ikshvaku 
the  first  ruler. 

I — 4]  JNAKA-YOGA.  IO5 

2.  This,  handed  down  thus  in  succession,  the 
King-sages  learnt.  This  Yoga,  by  long  lapse  of 
time,  has  been  lost  here,  O  harasser   of  foes. 

This  Yoga,  thus  handed  down  in  regular  succession 
among  the  kshatriyas,  the  king-sages — men  who  were  at 
once  kinjjs  and  saj^es — learnt.  The  tradition  of  this  Yosra 
has  now  for  a  long  time  been  broken  here,  O  Arjuna,  who 
harassest  thy  foes,  like  the  sun,  by  the  heat  of  thy  prowess. 

Seeing  that  the  Yoga  has  been  lost  by  falling  into  the 
hands  of  the  weak  who  could  not  control  their  senses,  and 
seeing  also  that  the  people  have  not  been  able  to  attain  the 
object  of  life, 

3.  That  same  ancient  Yoga  has  been  today 
taught  to  thee  by  Me,  seeing  that  thou  art  My 
devotee  and  friend ;  for,  this  is  the  Supreme 

This  knowledge,  this  Yoga,  is  the  Supreme  Secret. 

Divine  Incarnations. 

In  order  not  to  leave  in  anybody's  mind  an  impression 
that  an  inconsistent  statement  has  been  made  by  the  Lord, 
and  with  a  view  to  avoid  that  impression,  Arjuna  asks  as 
though  he  were  to  raise  an  objection  : 

4.  Later  is  Thy  birth,  and  prior  the  birth  of 
Vivasvat  ;  how  am  I  to  understand  that  Thou 
taughtest  this  Yoga  in  the  beginning  ? 

Thy  birth  is  later,  in  the  house  of  Vasudeva  ;  Vivasvat's 
(Aditya's)  birth  is  prior,  in  the  beginning  of  evolution  ;  how, 
then,  am  I  to  reconcile  the  statements  that  Thou  taughtest 
this  Yoga  in  the  beginning  (to  Vivasvat),  and  that  Thou,  the 


self-same  person,  hast  now  taught  it  to  me  ? 

To  remove — as  was  the  aim  of  Arjuna's  question — from 
the  ignorant  the  impression  that  Vasudeva  was  not  the 
Onmipotent  and  the  Omniscient,  the  Blessed  Lord  says  : 

The  Blessed  Lord  said  : 

5.  Many  births  of  Mine  have  passed,  as  well  as 
of  thine,  O  Arjuna  ;  all  these  I  know,  thou  know- 
est  not,  O  harasser  of  foes. 

Thou  hiowest  not,  because  thy  power  of  vision  is  obstruct- 
ed by  thy  past  action,  good  and  bad  (dharma  and  a-dharma). 
I,  on  the  other  hand,  know  them,  because  I  am  by  nature 
eternal,  pure,  wise,  unbound,  and  My  power  of  vision  is 

How,  then,  canst  Thou,  the  eternal  Lord,  have  a  birth, 
in  the  absence  of  dharma  and  a-dharma  ? — Listen  : 

6.  Though  I  am  unborn,  of  imperishable 
nature,  and  though  I  am  the  Lord  of  all  beings, 
yet  ruling  over  My  own  nature,  I  am  born  by  My 
own  Maya. 

Though  I  am  unborn,  though  by  nature  my  power  of 
vision  (J7;ana-5akt:i)  is  undecaying,  though  I  am  by  nature 
the  Lord  of  all  creatures  from  Brahma  down  to  grass,  yet 
ruling  over  My  Nature— the  Prak/ati,  the  Maya  of  Vish;m, 
which  is  made  up  of  the  three  energies  of  Sattva,  Rajas  and 
Tamas,  to  which  this  whole  universe  is  subject,  and  by 
which  deluded  the  whole  world  knows  not  Vasudeva,  its 
own  Self,— I  appear  to  be  born  and  embodied,  through  my 
own  Maya,  but  not  in  reality,  unlike  others. 

4 — lO.]  J  NAN  A- YOGA.  IO7 

The  purpose  of  Divine  Incarnation. 

When  and  for  what  purpose  is  He  so  born  ? — The  answer 

7.  Whenever  there  is  a  decay  of  religion,  O 
Bharata,  and  an  ascendency  of  irreligion,  then  I 
manifest  Myself. 

Religion:  Dharma  as  embodied  in  the  institution  of  castes 
(van/a)  and  religious  orders  (asrama)  which  are  the  means 
of  attaining  worldly  prosperity  and  salvation.  Whenever 
there  is  a  decay  of  religion  (Dharma),...  I  manifest  Myself 
through  Maya. 

For  what  purpose  ? 

8.  For  the  protection  of  the  good,  for  the  des- 
truction of  evil-doers,  for  the  firm  establishment 
of  religion,  I  am  born  in  ever\- age. 

The  good :  those  who  are  in  the  right  path. 

g.  Whoso  knows  thus  My  divine  birth  and 
action  in  truth  is  not  born  again  on  leaving  this 
body;    he  comes  to  Me,  O  Arjuna. 

My  birth  is  an  illusion  (Maya).  It  is  Divine,  peculiar  to 
Isvara,  not  of  ordinary  nature  (aprakrita).  He  comes  to  Me  : 
He  is  liberated. 

Jnana-Yoga  is  the  sole  means  to  moksha. 

This  path  of  salvation  is  not  recent,  but  it  was  in  vogue 
even  in  ancient  times  : 

10.  Free  from  passion,  fear  and  anger,  absorbed 
in  Me,  taking  refuge  in  Me,  purified  by  the  fire 
(tapas)  of  wisdom,    many  have   reached  My  being. 


Ahsovhed  in  Me',  knowing  Brahman,  i.  e.,  seeing  their 
identity  with  Isvara.  Taking  refuge  in  Me,  Paramesvara,  the 
Supreme  Lord,  i.  e.,  firmly  devoted  to  wisdom  only.  Jnana- 
tapas  :  religious  austerity  (tapas)  in  the  form  of  j;/ana  or 
knowledge  of  the  Highest  Self,  Paramatman. — This  com- 
pound indicates  that  Devotion  to  knowledge  is  quite  inde- 
pendent of  all  other  austerities  (tapases). — Having  attained 
to  highest  purity  by  means  of  this  fire  of  austerity  {tapas), 
many  have  attained  moksha. 

Divine  dispensation  of  worldly  benefits  and  salvation. 

Then,  Thou  cherishest  the  feelings  of  affection  and  aver- 
sion, since  Thou  awardest  moksha,  Thy  Being  (identity  with 
Thy  Self),  to  a  few  only,  not  to  all  ? — The  answer  follows  : 

II  Howsoever  men  approach  Me,  even  so  do 
I  reward  them  ;  My  path  do  men  follow  in  all 
things,  O  son  of  Pritha. 

I  reward  men  by  granting  them  the  things  they  desire, 
just  in  accordance  with  the  way  in  which  they  seek  Me 
and  the  motive  with  which  they  seek  Me  ;  for,  they  do  not 
seek  for  moksha.  One  cannot  indeed  pursue  pleasure  and 
at  the  same  time  seek  for  moksha.  Wherefore,  I  reward 
seekers  of  fruits  by  securing  to  them  their  selfish  ends  ;  I 
reward  the  unselfish,  who  do  their  prescribed  duties  and 
seek  for  moksha,  by  granting  them  knowledge  ;  I  reward 
men  of  knowledge  who  have  renounced  the  world  and  seek 
for  moksha,  by  granting  them  moksha  ;  similarly,  I  reward 
men  in  distress  by  relieving  them  from  distress.  Thus  do  I 
reward  all,  just  in  the  way  they  seek  Me./  But  never  do  I 
reward  any  from  affection  or  aversion,  or  from  delusion.  In 
all  things,  men  follow  My    path,  the  path  of  the  tsvara.  who 

10 — 12.]  JNANA-YOGA.  lOQ 

exists  in  all  forms/'=  [Here  'men'  stands  for  all  those  f 
who  are  engaf^jed  in  works  prescribed  according  to  their 
respective  ends.] 

{Question)  : — If  Thou,  livara,  art  free  from  affection  and 
other  evil  passions,  then,  since  Thou  art  gracious  to  all 
creatures  alike  and  able  to  grant  every  desire,  why  do  they 
not  all  desire  moksha  and  seek  Thee,  with  the  knowledge 
that  Vasudeva  is  all  ? 

{Ans7t>er)  : — Listen  why  it  is  so  : 

12.  They  who  long"  after  success  in  actions 
sacrifice  here  to  the  Gods  ;  for,  soon  in  this  world 
of  man  accrues  success  from  action. 

They  who  long  after  success  in  action  sacrifice  to  the 
Gods,  such  as  Indra  and  Agni.     The  sruti  says  : 

"He  who,  on  the  other  hand,  worships  a  separate  God, 
thinking,  '  He  is  separate  from  me  and  I  am  separate 
from  Him' — he  knows  not.  He  is  to  the  Devas  as  cattle 
(to  men)."     (Bn.  Up.  1-4-10). 

For/quickly  is  the  fruit  of  action  reaped  in  this  world  of 
men  by  those  who,  wuth  selfish  ends  in  view,  sacrifice  to 
external  Gods,  performing  the  works  enjoined  on  them 
according  to  their  caste  (var;?a)  and  order  (asrama). , '  It  is 
for  this  world  of  men  that  Vedic  injunctions  are  meant. — By 
the  expression  "  soon  in  this  world  of  man  "  the  Lord 
implies  that  even  in  other  worlds  actions  produce  results  : 
the  only  difference  being  that  it  is  only  to  this  world  of  men 
that  injunctions  based  upon  castes  and  religious  orders  apply. 

*  1.  f.,  whether  it  be   for  a  selfish   end       that  abides  as  the  Self  in  every  form.— (A) 

or  for  moksha,  every  one   should  follow  ...  ,      ,  ... 

,     .        ,  .,  1   Not  men  only,  but  other  bemgs  as 

the  Lord,  in  the  path  of  works  or  of  know- 
well. — (A) 
ledge.    It   is  the  Supreme  Lord   Himself 

no  THE  BHAGAVAD-GlTA.  [DiS.lV. 

Caste  as  a  divinely  ordered  human  institution. 

What  is  the  foundation  of  the  law  that  the  respective 
duties  of  the  several  castes  and  religious  orders  obtain  only 
in  this  warld  of  men,  but  not  in  other  worlds? — Or  the 
question  may  be  put  thus  :  It  has  been  said  that  men,  split 
up  into  the  communities  of  several  castes  and  orders 
(varwas  and  asramas),  should  follow  Thy  path  in  all  things. 
Why  should  they  necessarily  follow  Thy  path  only,  but 
not  that  of  any  other  ?— The  answer  follows  : 

13.  The  fourfold  caste  has  been  created  by  Me 
according  to  the  distribution  of  energies  and  ac- 
tions; though  I  am  the  author  thereof,  know  Me  as 
non-agent  and  immutable. 

The  four  castes  (van.'as,  lit.,  colours)  have  been  created  by 
Me,  tsvara,  according  to  the  distribution  of  energies  (gu7zas) 
and  of  actions.  The  energies  are  Sattva  (goodness).  Rajas 
(foulness,  activity),  and  Tamas  (darkness).  The  actions  of  a 
brahmawa  (  priest  ),  in  whom  Sattva  predominates,  are 
serenity,  self-restraint,  austerity,  &c.,  (xviii.  42).  The  ac- 
tions of  a  kshatriya  (warrior),  in  whom  Rajas  predominates 
and  Sattva  is  subordinate  to  Rajas,  are  prowess,  daring,. 
&c.,  (xviii.  43).  The  actions  of  a  vaisya  (merchant),  in 
whom  Rajas  predominates  and  Tamas  is  subordinate  to 
Rajas,  are  agriculture,  etc.  (xviii.  44).  The  actionof  a  5udra 
(servant),  in  whom  Tamas  predominates  acid  Rajas  is  sub- 
ordinate to  Tamas,  is  only  servitude.  Thus  have  been 
created  the  four  castes  according  to  the  distribution  of 
energies  and  actions.  This  fourfold  caste  does  not  exist 
in  other  worlds.  Hence  the  limitation  "in  this  world  of 
man."     (iv.  12). 

1 2 — 15.]  JNANA-YOCA.  Ill 

(Objection)  : — Oh  !  then  Thou  art  the  author  of  the  act  of 
creating  the  four  castes,  and  as  such  Thou  art  bound  by 
its  effects  ;  wherefore,  Thou  art  not  the  eternal  Lord  nor 
the  eternally  unbound. 

(Answey): — Though  I  am  the  author  of  this  act  when 
viewed  from  the  standpoint  of  Maya,  still,  know  thou  that  I 
am  in  reality  no  agent  and  therefore  not  subject  to  sawsara. 

Action  without  attachment   does  not  bind    the  soul. 

Since  I  am  not  in  reality  the  author  of  those  actions  of 
which  you  think  Me  to  ba  the  author, 

14.  Actions  pollute  Me  not,  nor  have  I  a  desire 
for  the  fruit  of  actions.  He  who  knows  Me  thus 
is  not  bound  by  actions. 

For  want  of  egoism  (ahawkara),  these  actions  do  not 
pollute  Me  by  necessitating  incarnation ;  nor  have  I  a  desire 
for  the  fruit  of  these  actions.  On  the  other  hand,  it  is  but  right 
that  actions  should  pollute  those  men  of  the  world  (sa;«sara) 
who  are  attached  to  their  actions,  thinking  themselves  to  be 
the  authors  thereof,  and  longing  for  the  fruits  of  such 
actions.  As  I  have  none  of  these,  (viz.,  desire  and  at- 
tachment), actions  cannot  pollute  ]Me.  Any  other  person, 
too,  who  knows  Me  to  be  his  Self,  who  thinks  "I  am 
no  agent,  I  have  no  longing  for  the  fruits  of  actions," — his 
actions  too  will  not  necessitate  incarnation. 

Knowing  that  '  I  am  no  agent,  I  have  no  longing  for  the 
fruits  of  actions,' 

15.  Thus  knowing,  men  of  old  performed  ac- 
tion in  the  hope  of  liberation  ;  therefore  do   thou 

112  THE    BHAGAVAD-gItA.  [DiS.  IV. 

also   perform   action  as   did   the   ancients   in   the 
olden  time. 

As  the  ancients  performed  action,  do  thou  also  perform 
action  ;  do  not  sit  quiet,  nor  renounce  action.  If  thou  art 
ignorant,  do  thou  perform  action  to  purify  the  self.  If  thou 
art  wise  and  knowest  the  truth,  do  thou  perform  action  for 
the  protection  of  the  masses.  It  was  performed  by  the 
ancients  such  as  Janaka  in  the  olden  time :  it  is  not  a 
recent  institution. 

The  real  nature  of  action  and  inaction. 

If  action  should  be  performed  here  (in  this  world  of  man) 
I  shall  perform  it  on  the  authority  of  Thy  word.  Why 
shouldst  thou  add  that  it  was  performed  by  the  ancients  in 
the  olden  time? — (In  reply  the  Lord  says:)  Listen.  For 
there  is  a  great  difficulty  in  (understanding)  action.— -How  ? 

i6.  What  is  action  ?  What  is  inaction  ? — As 
to  this,  even  the  wise  are  deluded.  I  shall  teach 
thee  such  action,  by  knowing  which  thou  shalt  be 
liberated  from  evil. 

Even  the  wise  are  deluded  as  to  what  is  action  and 
what  is  inaction.  Wherefore  I  will  explain  to  you  the 
nature  of  action  and  of  inaction,  knowing  which  thou  shalt 
be  released  from  the  evil  of  samsara. 

Neither  shouldst  thou  think  thus:  "  It  is  familiar  to  all 
that  action  means  movement  of  the  body,  and  inaction 
means  absence  of  it,  to  sit  quiet.  What  is  there  to  be  learnt 
about  them  ?  " 

Wherefore  ? 

The  answer  follows  : 

15 — 18.]  JNANA-YOGA.  ^^i,    \ 

17.  For,  thou  hast  to  know  somcthin<:^  even  of 
action,  something  to  know  of  unlawful  action,  and 
something  to    know  of  inaction ;  hard   to    under- 
stand is  the  nature  of  action. 

For  there  is  much  to  be  learnt  about  the  action  which  is 
enjoined  by  the  scripture,  about  the  action  which  is  un- 
lawful, and  about  inaction.  In  fact,  it  is  hard  to  understand 
the  true  nature  of  action  (enjoined),  of  inaction,  and  of 
unlawful  action. 

What,  then,  is  the  true  nature  of  action  and  inaction, 
about  which  much  has  to  be  learnt,  and  which  you  have 
promised  to  teach  ? — Listen  : 

18.  He  who  can  see  inaction  in  action,  who 
can  also  see  action  in  inaction,  he  is  wise  among 
men,  he  is  devout,  he  is  the  performer  of  all 

'  Action  '  means  what  is  done,  an  act  in  general.  Inaction 
can  be  seen  in  action,  and  action  in  inaction,  since  both 
inaction  (  niv;itti )  and  action  (prav/'itti)  presuppose  an 
agent."  In  fact,  all  our  experience  of  such  things  as  action 
and  agent  is  possible  only  in  a  state  of  avidya,  only  when 
we  have  not  yet  attained  to  the  Real  (vastu).  He  who 
sees  inaction  in  action  and  who  sees  action  in  inaction, — he 
is  wise  among  men,  he  is  devout  (yukta,  yogin),  and  he  has 
done  all  action. — Thus  is  he  extolled  who  sees  action  in 
inaction  and  vice  versa. 

*  It  has  been  said  that  action  should  be  it  presupjKJses  no  agency  of  the  Self.  For 
seen  in  inaction  and  vice  versa  because  in  action  or  inaction,   Pravritti  or  Xivritti  is 
both  an  agent  is  presupposed.  This  cannot  resorted  to  only   be/ore  obtaining  a  know- 
be  objected  to  on  the  ground  that  nivritti  ledge  of  the   Real    Self,   as    a  means  of 
or   inaction  is  resorted  to  only  when  the  attaining  it.^(.\.) 
One  real  Self  is  known,  and  that  therefore 



114  THE    BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.    IV. 

(Objection)  : — What  means  this  incongruity,  "  who  can 
see  inaction  in  action  and  action  in  inaction"  ?  Surely 
action  can  never  be  inaction,  nor  can  inaction  be  action. 
How  can  one  ever  reaHze  such  an  incongruity  ? 

{Answer) : — This  objection  does  not  apply  to  our  interpre- 
tation. To  an  ignorant  man  of  the  world,  what  in  reality 
is  inaction  appears  as  action,  and  what  in  reality  is  action 
appears  as  inaction.  With  a  view  to  teach  what  their  real 
ndture  is,  the  Lord  says,  "  He  who  can  see  inaction  in 
action,"  &c.  Hence  no  incongruity.  It  must  be  a  bare 
truth  that  the  Lord  means  to  teach  here,  inasmuch  as  He 
has  said  that  he  who  realizes  this  view  of  action  and  in- 
action is  zvise,  and  has  introduced  the  subject  by  saying 
that  there  is  much  to  be  leavnt  about  action  and  inaction, 
(iv.  17).  It  has  also  been  said  that  '  by  knowing  which  thou 
shalt  be  liberated  from  evil '  (iv.  16)  ;  and  certainly  freedom 
from  evil  cannot  be  achieved  by  means  of  false  knowledge. 
Wherefore,  we  should  understand  that  action  and  inaction 
are  misunderstood  by  all  living  beings  and  that  the  Lord, 
wishing  to  remove  this  false  view  of  them,  teaches  "  He 
who  can  see  inaction  in  action  "  &c.  Moreover,  inaction 
cannot  be  said  to  be  located  in  action  or  contained  in  it,  as 
jujube  (badara)  fruits  in  a  vessel,  nor  can  action  be  said  to 
be  located  in  inaction  ;  for,  inaction  is  but  the  absence  of 
action.  Wherefore  (the  meaning  of  the  Lord  must  be  that) 
action  and  inaction  are  not  rightly  understood  by  people 
and  that  the  one  is  mistaken  for  the  other,  as  the  mirage  is 
mistaken  for  water,  or  as  the  mother-of-pearl  is  mistaken 
for  silver. 

(Objection)  : — Action  is  ever  action  to  all ;  it  never  appears 
to  be  anything  else  ? 

l8J  J  NAN  A- YOGA.  II5 

{Answey) : — Not  so.  When  a  ship  is  in  motion,  the  motion- 
less trees  on  the  shore  appear,  to  a  man  on  board  the  ship, 
to  move  in  the  opposite  direction ;  distant  and  moving 
bodies  which  are  far  awny  from  our  eye  appear  to  be 
motionless.  Similarly,  here,  (in  tlie  case  of  the  Self)  in- 
action is  mistaken  for  action,  and  action  for  inaction. 
Wherefore,  to  remove  this  false  impression,  the  Lord  says 
"  He  who  can  see  inaction  in  action  "  &c. 

Though  such  an  objection  has  been  more  than  once 
answered,  people  who  have  long  been  subject  to  great  mis- 
conceptions are  deluded  often  and  often,  forget  the  truth 
though  often  and  often  taught,  and  often  and  often  raise 
objections  based  on  false  premises.  Wherefore,  seeing  how 
difficult  the  Real  is  for  us  to  know,  the  Lord  often  answers 
such  objections. 

The  truth  that  the  Self  is  actionless,  so  clearly  taught  by 
sruti,  smnti,  and  reason,  has  been  taught  here  also  in 
ii.  20.-24  !  '^"'^  ^^  ^^'^^^  ''•'^°  ^2  taught  hereafter.  It  is,  how- 
ever,  a  deep-rooted  habit  of  the  mind  to  connect  action 
with  the  actionless  Self,  though  it  is  contrary  to  His  real 
nature;  wherefore,  "  even  the  wise  are  deluded  as  to  what 
is  action  and  what  is  inaction"  (v.  i6).  Action  pertains  to 
the  physical  body  (deha)  etc.,  but  man  falsely  attributes 
action  to  the  Self  and  imagines  "  I  am  the  agent,  mine 
is  action,  by  me  shall  the  fruit  of  action  be  reaped." 
Similarly,  he  falsely  imputes  to  the  Self  the  cessation  of 
activity  which  really  pertains  to  the  body  and  the  senses,  as 
also  the  happiness  which  results  from  that  cessation  (of 
activity) ;  he  imagines  '  I  shall  be  quiet,  so  that  I  may  be 
happy,  without  worry  and  without  action;  and  I  do  nothing 
now,    I    am   quiet    and   happy."      To   remove     this   false 

ii6  THE  bhagavad-gIta.  [Dis.  IV. 

impression,  the   Lord    says   "  He  who  can  see  inaction   in 
action,"  &c. 

Now,  action  which  belongs  to  the  body  and  the  senses, 
while  yet  retaining  its  own  nature  as  action,  is  falsely 
imputed  by  all  to  the  Self  who  is  actionless  and  immutable; 
whence  even  a  learned  man  thinks  "  I  act."  Hence  the 
passage  means: — He  who  sees  inaction  in  action,  i.e.,  he 
who  has  the  right  knowledge  that  action,  which  is  common- 
ly supposed  by  all  to  pertain  to  the  Self,  does  not  really 
belong  to  the  Self,  just  as  motion  does  not  really  pertain 
to  the  trees  (on  the  shore  of  the  river)  which  appear  (to  a 
man  on  board  the  ship)  to  move  in  the  opposite  direction  ; 
and  he  who  sees  action  in  inaction,  i.e.,  he  who  knows 
that  even  inaction  is  action, — for,  inaction  is  but  a  cessation 
of  bodily  and  mental  activities,  and  like  action  it  is  falsely 
attributed  to  the  Self  and  causes  the  feeling  of  egoism  as 
expressed  in  the  words  "  quiet  and  doing  nothing,  I  sit 
happy;"- — he  who  can  realize  the  nature  of  action  and  in- 
action as  now  explained  is  wise  among  men ;  he  is  devout 
(Yogin),  he  is  the  performer  of  all  actions.  He  is  released 
from  evil  ;  he  has  achieved  all. 

This  verse  has  been  interpreted  in  a  different  way  by 
some  commentators. — How? — The  obligatory  duties  (nitya- 
karma),  performed  for  the  sake  of  Isvara,  do  not  produce  any 
effect  and  may  therefore  be  figuratively  termed  inaction,  i.e., 
they  are  equivalent  to  inaction;  and  neglect  of  those  duties 
produces  evil  and  may  therefore,  only  figuratively,  be  termed 
action,  i.  e.,  it  is  equivalent  to  action.  Accordingly,  they 
have  interpreted  the  verse  thus: — He  who  regards  the  obli- 
gatory duties  (nityakarma)  as  inaction,  since  they  do  not 
produce  any  effect — ^just  as  a   cow    may  be  said    to    be  no 

l8]  JNANA-YOGA.  liy 

COW  when  she  does  not  serve  the  purpose  of  yielding  milk, 
— and  he  who  regards  the  neglect  of  obligatory  duties  as 
an  action,  since  it  produces  evil  such  as  hell  (naraka),  he 
is  wise  among  men,  &c. 

This  interpretation  cannnot  hold  good.  As  such  knowledge 
cannot  lead  to  libaration  from  evil,  the  Lord's  statement 
that  "  by  knowing  whicli  thou  shalt  be  liberated  from 
evil  "  (iv.  1 6)  would  prove  false.  Even  though  it  be  grant- 
ed (for  mere  argument's  sake)  that  liberation  from  evil 
accrues  from  the  performance  of  obligatory  duties  (nitya- 
karma),  it  can  never  be  granted  that  it  will  accrue  from  the 
mere  knowledge  that  they  do  not  produce  any  effect.  Certain- 
ly it  is  nowhere  revealed  (in  sruti)  that  liberation  from 
evil  accrues  from  the  knowledge  that  obligatory  duties  do 
not  produce  effects  or  from  a  knowledge  of  those  obligatory 
duties  themselves.  It  cannot  be  urged  that  it  has  been 
taught  here  by  the  Lord.*  The  same  argument  holds  good 
also  against  their  view  as  to  seeing  action  in  inaction. 
Indeed,  this  precept  enjoins,  (they  hold),  not  that  neglect 
of  obligatory  duties  (nitya-karma)  should  be  regarded  as 
action,  but  only  that  obligatory  duties  should  be  perform- 
ed.  Moreover,  no  good  can  result  from  the  knowledge  that 
F  non-performance  of  obligatory  duties  leads  to  evil.  Neither 
can  non-performance  (which  is  non-existent  in  itself)  of 
obligatory  duties  be  enjoined  as  an  object  on  which  to  fix 
our  thought.!     l^or  by  a  false  knowledge   which    regards 

*  For,   in   words   "by  knowing   which  +  Just   as   we  are  to   fix   our   idea  of 

thou  shalt  be  Uberated  from  evil,  "  (v.  i6)  Vishnu  on  a  symbol  such  as  an  idol.  The 

the  Lord  refers  to  knowledge  of  the  things  symbol  alleged  to  be   presented  here  to 

there,  spoken  of,  but  not  to  the  particular  fix   our  thought  upon,  is  an  abhava  or 

k knowledge    that   obligatory    duties    pro-  nonentity, 
duce  no  effects. 

Il8  THE    DHAGAVAD-GiTA.  [DiS.  IV' 

inaction  as  action  can  a  man  be  released  from  evil,  or  said 
to  be  wise  and  devout  and  to  have  performed  all  actions: 
and  such  a  knowledge  deserves  no  praise.  False  knowledge 
is  itself  the  evil ;  how  can  it  release  us  from  another  evil  ? 
Darkness  does  not  expel  darkness. 

[Objection)  : — The  knowledge  that  inaction  is  action  or 
that  action  is  inaction  is  not  an  illusion,  but  a  figur- 
ative idea  based  upon  the  fact  of  productiveness  or  unpro- 
ductiveness of  effects. 

(Ansji^ey)  : — No.  For,  nowhere  is  it  taught  that  even  such 
a  figurative  idea  regarding  action  and  inaction  is  of  any 
good.  Neither  is  any  purpose  served  by  thus  ignoring  the 
immediate  subject  of  discourse  and  speaking  of  something 
else.  It  is,  moreover,  possible  to  express  more  directly  the 
fact  that  obligatory  duties  do  not  produce  effects  and  that 
their  omission  leads  to  hell.  What,  then,  might  be  the 
purpose  served  by  such  an  ambiguous  circumlocution  as  "he 
who  can  see  inaction  in  action,  "  &c.  ?  Such  an  explanation 
is  tantamount  to  saying  that  the  Lord  wanted  to  confound 
others  by  these  utterances.  It  is  not  necessary  to  mystify 
the  doctrine  (of  obligatory  duties)  by  means  of  symbolic 
language,  nor  is  it  possible  to  maintain  that  it  can  be  easily 
understood  if  expressed  often  and  often  and  in  more  ways 
than  one.  For,  the  same  doctrine  is  more  clearly  expressed 
in  ii.  47,  and  needs  no  reiteration.  It  is  only  what  is  high 
and  worthy  of  our  effort  that  is  worth  kndwing,  but  not  the 
worthless.  No  knowledge  is  v/orth  acquiring ;  nor  is  its 
object  ■■'- — which  is  unreal — worth  knowing.  No  e^'il  can 
arise  from  non -performance  ;  no  existence  can  arise  from 
non-existence.     It  has  been  said  here,    "  Of  the   unreal  no 

*  The  object  of  illusory  knowledge,   such  as  action  (karma). 

l8 — 19]  JNANA-YOGA.  II9 

being  there  is,"  ( ii.  16),  and  in  the  sruti  "  How  can  the 
existent  arise  from  the  non-existent?"  (Chha.  Up.  6-2-2J.  To 
say  that  an  existent  object  arises  from  the  non-existent  is 
tantamount  to  saying  that  non-existence  itself  becomes  exist- 
ence and  vice  versa,  which  cannot  be  maintained  as  it  is  against 
all  evidence.  The  scripture  (silstra)  cannot  enjoin  an  act 
wliich  is  productive  of  no  good;  for,  such  an  act  is  painful  in 
its  performance,  and  no  pain  would  ever  be  deliberately 
incurred.  Since  it  is  admitted  that  omission  of  such  duties 
leads  to  hell,  it  would  simply  amount  to  this,  that  Revela- 
tion (sfistra)  is  of  no  good,  since  performance  as  well  as  omis- 
sion of  duties  therein  enjoined  alike  result  in  pain.  More- 
over, he  who  admits  that  obligatory  duties  produce  no 
efTects  and  at  the  same  time  liolds  that  they  lead  to  salva- 
tion, lands  himself  in  a  self-contradiction. 

\\'herefore,  this  verse  admits  only  of  a  literal  interpreta- 
tion, and  we  have  interpreted  it  accordingly. 

Who  is  a  sage  ? 

The  realization  of  inaction  in  action  and  vice  versa  is 
extolled  as  follows  : 

19.  Kc  whose  engagements  are  all  devoid  of 
desires  and  purposes,  and  whose  actions  have  been 
burnt  by  the  fire  of  wisdom,  him  the  wise  call  a 

The  man  who  has  realized  the  truth  described  above, 
whose  works  are  all  free  from  desires  and  from  purposes 
(sankalpa)  which  cause  those  desires,  who  performs  mere 
deeds  without  any  immediate  purpose, — if  he  be  engaged  in 
worldly  action,  he  does  so  with  a  view  to  set  an  example  to 
the  masses  ;  if  he   has  renounced  worldly  life,  he  performs 

120  THE    BHAGAVAD-GiTA.  [DiS.    IV. 

deeds  only  for  bodily  maintenance, — whose  actions  good 
and  bad,  are  consumed  in  the  fire  of  wisdom  which  consists 
in  the  realization  of  inaction  in  action  and  vice  versa  :  him 
the  wise  who  know  Brahman  call  a  real  sage  {pandita.). 

The   Sage's   worldly   action  as   an  example 
to  the  masses. 

He  who  can  see  action  in  inaction  and  vice  versa,  (i.  e,, 
who  has  realized  the  true  nature  of  action  and  inaction),  is, 
by  virtue  of  that  very  realization,  free  from  action  ;  he  re- 
nounces (the  world)  and  engages  in  no  action, — only  doing 
what  is  required  for  the  bare  existence  of  his  body, — even 
though  he  had  been  engaged  in  action  before  realizing  the 
truth.  ^  On  the  other  hand,  there  may  be  a  person  who, 
having  started  with  action  and  having  since  obtained  the 
right  knowledge  of  the  Self,  really  abandons  action  with  all 
its  accessories,  as  he  finds  action  of  no  use;  but  who,  finding 
that  for  some  reason  he  cannot  abandon  action,  may  conti- 
nue doing  action  as  before,  with  a  view  to  set  an  example 
to  the  world  at  large,  devoid  of  attachment  to  action  and  its 
result,  and  therefore  having  no  selfish  end  in  view  ;  such  a 
man  really  does  nothing.  His  action  is  equivalent  to 
inaction,  since  all  his  actions  are  consumed  in  the  fire  of 
knowledge.    To  teach  this,  the  Lord  says  : 

20.  Having  abandoned  attachment  for  the  fruits 
of  action,  ever  content,  dependent  on  none,  though 
engaged  in  actions,  nothing  at  all  does  he  do. 

He  who  has  abandoned  all  concern  for  action  and  all 
attachment  for  its  results  in  virtue  of  the  knowledge  of  the 
truth  explained  above,  who  is  always  content,  longing  for 
no  objects  of  senses  ;  who  seeks  nothing  whereby  to  achieve 

19 — 21.]  JNANA-YOGA.  121 

any  end  of  his  {i.  c,  to  secure  enjoyments  in  this  birth 
or  the  next)  ;  who,  for  want  of  any  selfish  end  in  view, 
might  give  up  action  with  its  accessories  ;  but  who,  finding 
it  impracticable  to  get  away  from  action,  engages  in  action 
as  before  with  a  view  to  set  an  example  to  the  world  or  to 
avoid  the  displeasure  of  the  orthodox, — such  a  man,  though  1 
engaged  in  actions,  really  does  nothing  at  all,  since  he  is  ^ 
endued  with  knowledge  of  the  actionless  Self. 

The  Sage's  action  for  bodily   maintenance. 

He  who,  unlike  the  one  just  spoken  of,  has,  even  before 
engaging  in  action,  realized  his  identity  with  Brahman  (the 
Absolute)  abiding  within  all  as  the  innermost  actionless 
Self  ( the  Pratyagatman ) ;  who  is  free  from  desire  for 
objects  of  pleasure,  seen  or  unseen  ;  and  who,  therefore,  find- 
ing no  use  in  action  which  is  intended  to  secure  such  objects 
of  pleasure,  renounces  all  action  with  accessories,  except 
what  is  necessary  for  the  bare  bodily  maintenance ;  such  a 
devotee,  steady  in  his  devotion  to  knowledge,  is  liberated. 
To  teach  this,  the  Lord  says : 

21.  Free  from  desire,  with  the  mind  and  the 
self  controlled,  having  relinquished  all  possess- 
ions, doing  mere   bodily  action,  he  incurs  no  sin. 

He  from  whom  all  desires  have  departed,  by  whom  the 
mind  and  the  body  (the  self,  the  external  aggregate  of  causes 
and  effects)  have  been  controlled,  by  whom  all  property 
has  been  disowned,  who  does  mere  bodily  action  (action 
necessary  for  the  bare  existence  of  the  body),  without 
attachment  even  for  that  action, — he  incurs  no  sin  which 
will  produce  evil  effects.     Even    dharma  is  a  sin, — in   the 


122  THE  BHAGAVAD-GlTA.  [DiS.  IV. 

case  of  him  who  seeks  hberation,— inasmuch  as  it  causes 
bondage.  He  is  liberated  from  both  (dharma  and  a-dharma), 
i.  c,  he  is  liberated  from  sawsara. 

Now,  what  does  the  phrase  '  mere  bodily  action  '  (sarira- 
karma)  mean  ?  Does  it  mean  action  which  can  be  perform- 
ed by  means  of  the  body  only  ?  Or  does  it  mean  action 
required  for  the  bare  existence  of  the  body  ? 

One  may  ask  :  What  is  the  good  of  this  enquiry  ?  What 
if'  bodily  action  '  means  '  action  done  by  means  of  the  body  ' 
or  '  action  necessary  for  the  bare  existence  of  the  body  '  ? 

We  reply  as  follows  : 

Firstly  :  If  [  mere  bodily  action  '  means  '  action  which  can 
be  performed  by  means  of  the  body  only  ',  the  words  would 
imply  that  e\en  he  who,  by  means  of  the  body,  does  an  un- 
lawful action  productive  of  some  visible  or  invisible  results, 
incurs  no  sin.  Then  this  teaching  would  contradict  the 
teaching  of  the  sastra.  And  to  say  that  he  who  does  by  means 
of  the  body  a  lawful  action  productive  of  some  visible  or 
invisible  results  incurs  no  sin  is  to  deny  something  which 
even  the  opponent  would  never  advance.  Moreover,  the 
qualifications  '  doing  bodily  action  '  and  '  mere  '  Avould 
imply  that  sin  accrues  to  him  who  in  speech  or  thought 
performs  actions  enjoined  or  prohibited  by  the  sastra,  res- 
pectively called  dharma  and  a-dharma.  To  say,  then,  that 
he  who  does  a  lawful  act  in  speech  or  thought  incurs  sin 
would  be  to  contradict  the  scripture  ;  and  to  say  that  he 
who  does  an  unlawful  act  in  speech  or  thought  incurs  sin 
is  a  useless  reiteration  of  what  is  known. 

Secondly:  If,  on  the  other  hand,  "bodily  action"  be 
interpreted  to  mean  '  action  ref^uired  for  the  bare  existence 


21 — 22.]  JNANA-YOGA.  123 

of  the  body,'  then  the  teaching  amounts  to  this  :  He  who  in 
deed,  speecli  and  thought  does  no  other  action,  lawful  or 
unlawful,  productive  of  results  here  or  hereafter  ;  who,  in 
deed,  speech  or  thought,  performs  in  the  eye  of  the  world 
just  those  acts  which  are  required  for  the  bare  existence  of 
the  body  without  even  such  attachment  for  those  acts  as  is 
implied  in  the  words  "  I  do,"  he  does  not  incur  sin.  Since 
it  cannot  even  be  imagined  that  such  a  man  can  do  any 
wrong  which  may  be  called  sin,  he  is  not  subject  to  re- 
birth ;  he  is  liberated  without  any  let  or  hindrance,  since  all 
his  actions  have  been  consumed  in  the  fire  of  knowledge. — 
Thus,  there  is  here  only  a  reiteration  of  the  results  of  the 
right  knowledge,  which  have  bsen  described  already  (in  iv. 
18).  The  phrase  '  mere  bodily  action'  thus  understood 
gives  no  room  to  objection. 

Since  an  ascetic  who  has  disowned  all  property  does  not 
own  even  the  articles  of  food  and  other  things  required  for 
the  maintenance  of  the  body,  it  would  follow  that  the  body 
should  be  maintained  by  begging  or  such  other  means 
Now  the  Lord  points  out  such  means  of  obtaining  food 
and  other  things  required  for  the  maintenance  of  the  body 
as  are  sanctioned  b}'  the  texts  like  the  following  : 

"  What  is  not  begged  for,  not  previously  arranged 
for,  what  has  been  brought  to  him  without  his  effort..." 
[Baudhdyana-Dharmasntra,  2-8-12). 

22.  Satisfied  with  what  comes  to  him  by  chance, 
rising  above  the  pairs  of  opposites,  free  from  en\y, 
equanimous  in  success  and  failure,  though   acting 
he  is  not  bound. 
He   who   is  satisfied  with  whatever  he  may  obtain   by 

124  "^"E  BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.    IV. 

chance,  without  his  effort  or  request,  who  is  not  affected   in 
mind  by  the  attack  of  such   pairs  of  opposites  (dvandva)  as 
heat  and  cold,  who   cherishes  no  feelings  of  envy  and  jea- 
lousy, who  is  calm  whether  he  obtains  or  not  such  things  as 
might  come  to  him  without  effort, — such  a  devotee,  feeling 
no  pleasure  or  pain  whether  he  obtains  or  not  food  and  other 
things  required  for  the  maintenance  of  the  body,  seeing  action 
in    inaction  and   vice  versa,  ever  steady  in  his   knowledge 
of  the  true  nature  of  the  Self,  always  disowning  agency — 
"  I  do  nothing  at  all,  energies  act   upon    energies," — in   all 
acts  of  the  body,  etc.,  while  begging  or  doing  anything  else 
for  the  bare  existence  of  the  body, — thus  realizing  the  non- 
agency  of  the  Self,  he  really  does  no  act  at  all,  not  even  the 
act  of  begging.    But  as  he  appears  to  act  like  the  generali- 
ty of  mankind,  agency  is  imputed  to  him  by  people,  and  so 
far  he  is  the  agent  in  the  act  of  begging  and  the  like.  From 
his  own  point  of  view,  however,  as  based  on  the  teaching 
of  the  scriptures  which  are  the  source  of  right  knowledge, 
he  is  no  agent  at  all.     Thus,  though  he  performs  the  act  of 
begging  and  the  like  required  for  the  bare  existenfce  of  the 
body,  and  though  with   reference  to  these  acts  agency   is 
imputed  to  him  by  others,  he  is   not  bound,  since  action 
and  its  cause,  which   are  the  source  of  bondage,  have  been 
burnt  in  the  fire  of  wisdom.     This  is  only  a   reiteration  of 
what  has  been  already  said  (iv,  19,  21). 

The  Sage's  worldly  action  does  not  bind  him. 

It  has  been  shown  in  iv.  20  that  that  man  does  no  action 
who,  having  started  in  life  with  action,  has  since  realized 
the  actionless  Self  as  one  with  Brahman  and  has  seen  the 
non-existence  of  agent,  action  and  results,  but  who,  though 

22 — 24]  JNANA-YOGA.  I25 

competent  to  renounce  action,  yet,  on  account  of  something 
preventing  him  from  doing  so,  has  continued  in  action  as 
before.  Of  him  who,  as  thus  shown,  does  no  action,  the 
Lord  Says : 

23.  Of  the  man  whose  attachment  is  gone,  who 
is  liberated,  whose  mind  is  established  in  know- 
ledge, who  acts  for  the  sake  of  sacrifice, — his  whole 
action  melts  awav. 

That  man  from  whom  all  attachment  is  gone,  from  whom 
all  cause  of  bondage,  dharma  and  a-dharma,  has  fled  away, 
whose  mind  is  ever  fixed  in  wisdom  alone,  who  acts  with  a 
view  to  the  parformance  of  a  sacrifice  " — his  action  with  its 
result  is  dissolved  away,  is  reduced  to  nothing. 

Wisdom  =  sacrifice. 

For  what  reason,  then,  is  all  action  which  he  does,  entire- 
ly dissolved,  without  producing  its  natural  result  ? — Listen 

24.  Brahman  is  the  offering,  Brahman  the  obla- 
tion ;  by  Brahman  is  the  oblation  poured  into  the 
fire  of  Brahman  ;  Brahman  verily  shall  be  reached 
by  him  who  always  sees  Brahman  in  action. 

The  man  who  has  realized  Brahman  sees  that  the  instru- 
ment by  which  the  oblation  is  poured  in  the  fire  is  nothing 
but  Brahman  ;  that  it  has  no  existence  apart  from  that  of 
the  Self,  just  as  silver  has  no  existence  apart  from  that  of 
the  mother-of-pearl  (mistaken  for  silver).  What  (in  the 
illustrationj  appears  as  silver  is  nothing  but  the  mother-of- 
pearl.     What  people  look   upon  as  the  instrument  of  ofTler-^ 

*  With  a  view  to  please  Lord,   Narayawa  (Yajiia=  Sacrifice,  Vish«u).— (A). 


126  THE    BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.  IV, 

ing  is,  to  one  who  has  realised  Brahman,  nothing  but 
Brahman.  Brahman  is  the  oblation  :  i.  e.,  what  is  regarded 
as  oblation  is  to  him  nothing  but  Brahman.  So  the  fire 
wherein  the  oblation  is  offered  is  nothing  but  Brahman  ;  and 
it  is  by  Brahman  that  the  offering  is  made,  i.e.,  the  agent 
is  none  other  than  Brahman.  The  act  of  offering:  is  nothing 
but  Brahman  ;  and  the  result,  the  goal  to  be  reached  by 
him  who  always  sees  Brahman  in  action,  is  nothing  but 

Thus,  the  action  performed  by  him  who  wishes  to  set  an 
example  to  the  world  is  in  reality  no  action,  as  it  has  been 
destroyed  by  the  realisation  of  Brahman  in  action.  This 
representation  as  a  sacrifice  (Yaj?za)  of  the  right  knowledge 
possessed  by  him  who  has  given  up  all  rites  and  has  re- 
nounced all  action  is  quite  in  its  place,  as  serving  to  extol 
that  right  knowledge.  For  him  who  has  realised  the 
Supreme  Reality,  the  instrument  of  offering  and  other  ac- 
cessories connected  with  the  actual  sacrifice  are  nothing  but 
Brahman,  who  is  one  with  his  own  Self.  Else,  it  would  be  to 
no  purpose  to  speak  specifically  of  the  instrument  and  other 
accessories  of  a  sacrificial  rite  as  Brahman,  when  every- 
thing is  Brahman.  Wherefore,  to  one  who  realises  that  all 
is  Brahman,  there  is  no  action.  Moreover,  all  idea  of  the 
accessories  of  action  is  absent;  and  indeed,  no  act  of  sacri- 
fice is  ever  possible  in  the  absence  of  such  an  idea.  Every 
sacrificial  rite,  such  as  Agnihotra,  iz  associated  with  an  idea 
(derived  from  the  revealed  texts)  of  the  accessories  of  action 
such  as  a  particular  God  or  Gods  to  whom  the  oblation 
should  be  offered,  and  with  egoism  on  the  part  of  the  agent 
and  his  attachment  for  the  results.  No  sacrificial  rite  is  ever 
found  unassocialed  with  the  idea  of  the  accessories  of  action 

24.]  JNANA-YOGA.  127 

and  results,  unaccompained  with  egoism  and  a  longing 
for  the  results.  But  this  (wisdom-sacrifice)  is  an  action 
wherein  all  idea  of  the  instrument  and  other  various  access- 
ories of  action,  all  idea  of  action  itself  and  of  its  results,  has 
been  replaced  by  the  one  idea  of  Brahman.  Whence  it  is 
no  action  at  all.  This  is  shewn  in  iv  18,  20  ;  iii.  28;  v.,  8^ 
Thus  teaching,  our  Lord  here  and  there  tries  also  to  remove  ^ 
all  idea  of  duality,  i,  c,  of  action,  its  result  and  its  access- 
ories. It  is  admitted  in  the  case  of  the  Kamya-Agnihotra — 
the  sacrifice  of  Agnihotra  performed  for  some  selfish  pur- 
pose—  that  it  ceases  to  be  a  Kamya-Agnihotra  in  the 
absence  of  that  purpose.  So  also  we  are  given  to  know  that 
actions  produce  different  results  according  as  they  are 
performed  deliberately  or  otherwise.  Accordingly,  here  too, 
in  the  case  of  the  wise  man  in  whom  the  idea  of  Brahman 
has  replaced  all  idea  of  duality — such  as,  the  instrument 
and  other  accessories  of  the  act  of  offering,  the  act  itself  and 
its  results — his  action,  though  appearing  as  such  externally, 
ceases  to  be  action.  Whence  it  is  said  "  the  whole  action 
melts  away  "  (iv.  23). 

In  interpreting  this  passage,  some  say  : — Wliat  we  call 
Brahman  is  the  instrument  of  action  and  so  on.  And  in 
fact  it  is  Brahman  that  manifests  Himself  in  the  five 
forms, — such  as  action  and  its  accessories, — and  does  the 
action.  In  this  case,  the  idea  of  the  instrument  and  other 
accessories  of  action  does  not  cease  to  exist.  On  the  other 
hand,  it  is  taught  that  the  idea  of  Brahman  should  be  fixed 
upon  action  and  its  accessories  in  the  same  way  that  the  idea 
of  Vish;m  is  fixed  upon  an  idol  or  the  idea  of  Brahman  is 
fixed  upon  '  name.'    {VideChh.  Upanishad,  7-1-5). 

Indeed,  even  this  view  would  be  f>ossible  if  this  particu- 


lar  section  of  the  discourse  were  not  here  concerned  with 
the  praise  of  the  Wisdom-sacrifice  ( juana-yajna).  On  the 
other  hand,  our  Lord  will  here  speak  of  the  several  acts  of 
worship  termed  yajuas  (sacrifices)  and  then  praise  wisdom, 
the  right  knowledge,  in  these  terms :  "  Superior  is  the 
wisdom-sacrifice  to  the  sacrifice  with  objects."  (iv.  33). 
And  it  has  been  shewn  that  the  verse  is  intended  to  re- 
present wisdom  as  a  sacrifice  (z^^W^  p.  126).  But,  with  those 
who  maintain  that  the  idea  of  Brahman  should  be  fixed 
upon  the  sacrificial  rite  and  all  its  accessories,  just  as  the 
idea  of  Vish;m  is  fixed  upon  an  idol  or  the  idea  of  Brahman 
on 'name' — the  Brahma-vidya  (knowledge  of  Brahman), 
which  has  been  hitherto  spoken  of,  cannot  be  the  aim  of  the 
teaching  here ;  for,  this  verse  would  be  mainly  concerned, 
according  to  their  interpretation,  with  the  instrument,  etc., 
connected  with  a  sacrificial  rite.  Moreover,  moksha  cannot 
be  obtained  by  that  knowledge  which  consists  in  fixing  the 
idea  of  Brahman  on  a  symbol  (such  as  a  sacrificial  rite).  It 
has  been  here  said  that  Brahman  is  the  goal  to  be  reached. 
It  is  indeed  opposed  to  truth  to  maintain  that  moksha  can 
be  obtained  without  knowledge. 

Such  interpretation  is  also  opposed  to  the  context.  Right 
knowledge  is  the  subject  of  which  this  Discourse  treats 
{vide.  iv.  18),  and  the  concluding  portion  of  the  Discourse 
treats  of  the  same  subject,  as  shewn  by  the  closing  verses. 
The  Discourse  indeed  concludes  by  extolling  right  know- 
ledge (iv.  33.  39).  Accordingly  it  is  not  right  to  maintain 
that,  all  on  a  sudden,  and  without  reference  to  the  present 
topic,  it  is  here  taught  that  the  idea  of  Brahman  should  be 
fixed  on  a  sacrificial  act  just  as  the  idea  of  Vish;/u  is  fixed 
on  an  idol. 

24-25]  JNANA-YOGA.  I29 

Wherefore  this  verse  should  be  interpreted  as  has  been 
done  by  us. 

Sacrifices  effected  by  action. 

After  representing  the  right  knowledge  as  a  sacrifice,  the 
Lord  proceeds  to  enumerate  other  kinds  of  sacrifice  with  a 
view  to  extol  the  right  knowledge  : 

25.  Other  yogins  resort  to  sacrifices  to  Gods  ; 
in  the  fire  of  Brahman  others  offer  the  Self  by  the 

Some  yogins,  devotees  to  action,  perform  only  sacrificial 
rites  in  devotion  to  the  Gods,  while  others  who  know 
Brahman,  the  Absolute,  sacrifice  the  Self  by  the  Self  in  the 
fire  of  Brahman.  The  oblation  (ahuti)  in  this  latter  sacrifice 
is  yajua,  the  Self, — for  '  yajua,'  is  enumerated  among  the 
terms  synonymous  with  '  atman ' — who  is  in  reality  one 
with  Brahman,  but  who  is  conditioned  by  the  upadhis 
(such  as  buddhi)  with  all  their  attributes  superimposed 
upon  Him.  This  oblation  of  the  Self  is  poured  by  the  Self 
into  Brahman, — here  termed  fire,  the  place  into  which  that 
oblation  is  poured, — as  described  in  the  following  texts : 

"  Brahman  is  the  Real,  Consciousness,  the  Infinite." 
(Tait.  Up.  2-1). 

"  Brahman  who  is  Consciousness  and  Bliss."  (Bn. 
Up.  3-9-28). 

"  Brahman  who  is  immediately  cognised  by  all,  and 
who  is  the  Innermost  Self  of  all  "  (B;'i.  Up.  3-2-1). 

Brahman  is  devoid  of  all  characteristics  of  mundane  exis- 
tence (sawsara)  such  as  hunger  and  thirst,  inconceivable  in 
any  particular  form  or  aspect,  as  taught  by  the  Scripture  in 


130  THE    BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.  IV. 

the  terms,  "It  is  not  thus,  it  is  not  thus."  (Bn.  Up.  4-4-22). 

To  know  the  conditioned   Self  as   identical   with  the  un- 
conditioned   Brahman  is  to  sacrifice  the  Self  in    Brahman. 
This  is  the  sacrifice  which  is  performed  by  those  who,  hav- 
ing renounced  all  action,  are  ever  steady  in  their  knowledge 
of  the  identity  of  the  Self  with  Brahman. 

This  Wisdom-Sacrifice  ( described  in  iv.  24 )  is  here 
enumerated  along  with  the  Gods-Sacrifice  (Daiva-yajila) 
and  others,  with  a  view  to  extol  it  (iv.  33). 

26.  Others  offer  hearing  and  other  senses  in  the 
fires  of  restraint  ;  others  offer  sound  and  other 
objects  in  the  fires  of  the  senses. 

Some  yogins  offer  hearing  and  other  senses  in  the  fires  of 
restraint  (samyama) ; — the  plural  '  fires  '  is  used  because  the 
restraint  differs  with  each  sense  ; — they  are  ever  engrossed 
in  restraining  their  senses;  while  others  sacrifice  the  objects 
of  senses  in  the  fires  of  the  several  senses,  i.  c,  they  regard 
it  as  a  sacrifice  to  direct  their  senses  only  to  the  unforbidden 
objects  of  senses. 

27.  And  others  sacrifice  all  the  functions  of  the 
senses  and  the  functions  of  the  vitality  in  the 
wisdom-kindled  fire  of  the  Yoga  of  Self-restraint. 

•  Wisdom-kindled  :  kindled  by  discriminative  wisdom,  as  a 
lamp  is  kindled  by  oil.  The  functions  of  pra«a,  the  vital 
air  in  the  individual's  body,  are  expansion,  contraction,  etc. 
I  The  functions  of  the  senses  and  of  the  vital  air  are  com- 
pletely dissolved  while  the  yogin  concentrates  the  mind  on 
the  Self. 

28.  Others    are   sacrificers    by   their    wealth, 

25 — 3l]  JNANA-YOr.A.  I3I 

sacriticers  by  austerity,  sacrilicers  by  Yogas,  sacri- 
ficers  by  reading  and  knowledge,  ascetics  of  rigid 

Of  others,  some  sacrifice  by  way  of  giving  away  their 
wealth  to  the  deserving ;  some  by  austerity ;  some  by 
Yoga,  comprising  such  practices  as  Pra«ayama  (restraint  of 
\ital  airs)  and  Pratyahara  (withdrawal  of  the  mind  from 
external  objects)  ;  some  by  way  of  repeating  Vedic  texts 
such  as  the  /?ig-Veda  according  to  prescribed  rules  ;  some 
by  way  of  studying  the  contents  of  the  Scriptures  (sastra). 

29.  Others  offer  pra»a  ( outgoing  breath )  in 
apana  (incoming  breath),  and  apana  in  pra;;a, 
restraining  the  passages  of  pra;/a  and  apana,  absorb- 
ed in  pra;?ayama  (restraint  of  breath). 

Some  practise  the  kind  of  pra«ayama  called  Puraka 
(filling  in)  ;  some  practise  the  kind  of  Pra«ayama  called 
Rechaka  (emptying)  ;  some  are  engaged  in  the  practice  of 
Pra«ayama  called  Kumbhaka  by  impeding  the  outward 
passage  of  the  air  through  nostrils  and  the  mouth,  and  by 
impeding  the  inward  passage  of  the  air  in  the  opposite 


30.  Others,  with  regulated  food,  offer  life-breaths 
in  life-breaths.  All  these  are  knowers  of  sacrifice, 
whose  sins  are  destroyed  by  sacrifice. 

Regulated  :  limited.  Whatever  life-breath  has  been  con- 
trolled, into  it  they  sacrifice  all  other  life-breaths  ;  these 
latter  become,  as  it  were,  merged  in  the  former. 

31.  Eating   of  ambrosia,  the   remnant   of  the 

132  THE    RHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.    IV. 

sacrifice,  they  go  to  Eternal  Brahman.  This  world 
is  not  for  the  non-sacrificer  ;  whence  the  other  ? — 
O  best  of  Kurus. 

Performing  the  sacrifices  mentioned  above,  they  eat,  at 
intervals,  of  prescribed  food  in  a  prescribed  manner.  Food 
so  eaten  is  called  ambrosia,  anirita  (immortal).  If  they 
w  wish  for  moksha,  they  go  to  Brahman  in  course  of  time, 
not  at  once,  as  we  should  understand  for  consistency's 
sake.  Even  this  world,  which  is  common  to  all  beings,  is 
not  for  one  who  performs  none  of  the  sacrifices  mentioned 
above.  How  can  there  be  to  him  another  world  which  can 
be  secured  only  by  superior  means  ? 

32.  Thus  manifold  sacrifices  are  spread  at  the 
mouth  of  Brahman.  Know  them  all  as  born  of 
action.     Thus  knowing,  thou  shalt  be  liberated. 

Thus  various  sacrifices,  such  as  those  mentioned  above, 
are  spread  at  the  mouth  of  Brahman,  i.e.,  are  known  from 
the  Vedas  through  such  passages  as  the  following  :  "  We 
sacrifice  pra;;a  in  speech."  Know  that  they  are  all  born  of 
V  the  not-Self, — of  action  in  deed,  speech  and  thought, — for 
the  Self  is  actionless.  If  you  realise  that  "  these  are  not  my 
actions,  I  am  actionless,  I  am  unconcerned,"  you  will  be 
released,  by  this  right  knowledge,  from  evil,  from  the 
bond  of  sa/wsara. 

Wisdom  =  sacrifice  is  superior  to  other  sacrifices. 

Right  knowledge  has  been  represented  as  a  sacrifice  in 
iv.  24.  Then  several  sacrifices  were  taught.  Knowledge  is 
now  extolled  as  compared  with  these  latter  kinds  of  sacrifices 
which  are  all  means  of  attaining  the  several  objects  of  hu- 
man pursuit. 

3I-34I  JNANA-YOGA.  133 

^^.  Superior  is  wisdom-sacrifice  to  the  sacrifice 
with  objects,  O  harasser  of  thy  foes.  All  action, 
without  exception,  O  son  of  Pritha,  is  compre- 
hended in  wisdom. 

The  sacrifice  performed  with  material  objects  produces 
material  effects,  whereas  wisdom-sacrifice  does  not.  Where- 
fore wisdom-sacrifice  is  superior  to  the  sacrifice  performed 
with  material  objects.  For,  wisdom,  which  is  the  means 
to  moksha,  comprehends  all  action.     So  says  the  sruti : 

"Just  as  (in  the  game  of  four  dice)  the  three  dice  are 
comprehended  in  the  fourth  termed  kjdta,  so  whatever 
good  people  do,  all  that  reaches  him.  Any  other  man 
who  knows  that  which  he  knew  (obtains  the  same 
result.) — (Chha.  Up.  4-1-4)- 

How  and  where  one  should  seek  wisdom. 

By  what  means  is  this  grand  wisdom  to  be  obtained? 

34.  Know  this:  by  long  prostration,  by  enquiry, 
by  service,  those  men  of  wisdom  who  have  realis- 
ed the  truth  will  teach  thee  wisdom. 

Know  thou  by  what  process  it  is  obtained.  Go  to  the  ? 
teachers  (Acharyas)  and  humbly  prostrate  thyself  before 
them.  Ask  them  what  is  the  cause  of  bondage  (bandha) 
and  what  the  means  of  deliverance  ;  what  is  wisdom  (vidya) 
and  what  nescience  (avidya).  Do  service  to  the  Guru. 
Won  over  by  these  and  other  marks  of  respect,  the  teachers 
who,  knowing  the  truth  as  well  as  realising  it  themselves, 
will  impart  to  thee  their  wisdom, — that  wisdom  which  has 
been  described  above.  Some  only,  but  not  all,  know  as  , 
well  as  realise  the  truth. — By  this  the  Lord  means  to  say 
that  that  knowledge  alone  which  is  imparted  by  those  who 

134  "^HE    BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.    IV. 

have  realised  the  truth — and  no  other  knowledge—can  prove 

Then  alone  the  following  statement  will  hold  good  : 

35.  Knowing  which,  thou  shalt  not  again  thus 
fall  into  error,  O  Pan^ava ;  and  by  which,  thou 
wilt  see  all  beings  in  thy  Self  and  also  in   Me. 

Having"  obtained  the  wisdom  imparted  by  them,  you  will 
not  be  again  subject  to  confusion  as  you  now  are.  'By  this 
wisdom  you  will  also  immediately  perceive  all  beings,  from 
Brahma  (the  Creator)  down  to  grass,  in  your  own  Self.  You 
will  then  realise  that  "these  beings  exist  in  Me."  You  will 
also  see  them  all  in  Me,  Vasudeva,  thus :  "  And  these  beings 
exist  in  the  Supreme  Lord;"  i.e.,  you  will  realise  that  unity 
of  the  individual  Soul  (Kshetraj»a)  and  the  Isvara  Avhich  is 
so  clearly  taught  in  all  the   Upanishads.    / 

Wisdom,   a  consumer  of  all  sins  and  actions. 

Moreover,  see  how  excellent  knowledge  is  : 

36.  Even  shouldst  thou  be  the  most  sinful  of  all 
the  sinful,  thou  shalt  verily  cross  all  sin  by  the 
bark  of  wisdom. 

With  the  boat  of  this  knowledge,  verily,  you  can  cross  the 
ocean  of  sin.  For  one  who  seeks  liberation,  even  dharma 
proves  to  be  a  sin. 

How  does  wisdom  destroy  sin  ? — Here  is  an  example  : 

^y.  As  kindled  fire  reduces  fuel  to  ashes,  O 
Arjuna,  so  does  wisdom-fire  reduce  all  actions  to 

Just  as  a  well-kindled  fire  reduces  fuel  to  ashes,  so  does 
the  fire  of  wisdom  reduce  all  actions  to  ashes,  i.e.,  it  renders 

34-39-]  JNANA-YOGA.  I35 

them  impotent.  The  fire  of  wisdom  cannot  indeed  literally 
reduce  actions  to  ashes  as  fire  reduces  fuel  to  ashes.  Accord- 
ingly we  should  understand  that  right  knowledge  is  the  cause 
which  renders  all  actions  impotent.  But  the  actions  l)y 
which  this  body  has  been  brought  into  existence  will  come 
to  an  end  only  when  their  effects  will  have  been  fully  work- 
ed out ;  for,  those  actions  have  already  commenced  their 
effects.  Thus/^visdoni  can  destroy  only  such  actions  as 
have  not  yet  begun  to  produce  their  eflfects,  whether  they 
are  actions  done  in  this  birth  before  the  rise  of  knov/ledge 
and  along  with  knowledge,  or  those  done  in  the  many 
previous  births. 


38.  Verily,  there^  exists  here  no  purifier  equal 
to  wisdom.  He  who  is  perfected  by  Yoga  finds  it 
in  time  in  himself  by    himself. 

The  seeker  of  moksha  who  has  perfected  and  regenerated 
himself  by  Yoga — by  Karma- Yoga  and  by  Samadhi-Yoga —  ^ 
will   after  a  long  practice,  himself  find  spiritual  wisdom  in 

The  surest  means  to  wisdom. 

The   surest    means   of   acquiring    wisdom   is   taught    as 
follows  : 

39.  He   obtains  wisdom  who   is   fall   of  faith, 
who  is   devoted  to  it,  and  who    has   subdued  the 
senses.      Having   obtained  wisdom,   he   crc  long 
attains  to  the  Supreme  Peace. 

A  man  full  of  faith  obtains  wisdom.  But  he  may  be  slow; 
whence  it  is  enjoined  that  he  should  ever  be  intently  devot- 

136  THE    BHAGAVAD-GiXA.  [DiS.    IV. 

ed  to  the  means  of  obtaining  wisdom,  such  as  constant 
attendance  on  the  Teachers  (Gurus) '■=.  A  man  of  faith  and 
devotion  may  not  have  mastery  over  the  senses  ;  whence  it 
is  also  enjoined  that  he  should  withdraw  his  senses  away 
from  their  engrossment  in  objects.  Such  a  man  of  faith, 
devotion  and  self-control  is  sure  to  obtain  wisdom.  Mere 
external  acts  (iv.34),  such  as  long  prostration  before  the  Guru, 
may  fail  to  produce  the  required  effect,  since  they  may  be 
tinged  with  hypocrisy.  But  hyprocisy  is  impossible  when 
a  man  is  full  of  faith  and  so  on.  Whence  these  are  the 
certain  means  of  acquiring  wisdom. — What  is  the  result  of 
this  acquisition  of  wisdom  ? — The  answer  follows  :  Having 
obtained  wisdom,  he  swiftly  attains  the  Supreme  Peace, 
called  Moksha.  That  the  right  knowledge  quickly  leads  to 
moksha  is  an  established  truth  clearly  taught  by  all  sastras 
as  well  as  reason. 

Wisdom  the  killer  of  doubt. 

Thou  shalt  not  doubt  this,  for  doubt  is  most  sinful. — 
How? — Listen  : 

40.  The  ignorant,  the  faithless,  and  one  of 
doubting  self,  is  ruined.  There  is  neither  this 
world,  nor  the  other,  nor  happiness,  for  one  of 
doubting  self. 

The  man  who  knows  not  the  Self  is  ruined,  as  also  the 
man  who  has  no  faith  in  the  teachings  and  the  words  of 
his  Guru,  and  the  man  whose  mind  is  full  of  doubts.  No 
doubt  the  ignorant  and  the  faithless  are  ruined,  but  not  to 
the  same  extent  as  a  man  of  doubting  mind.  He  is  the 
most   sinful    of  all.— How  ?  — Even    this   world    which    is 

*  And  listening  to  their  teachings.  &c. 

40 — 42-]  JNANA-YOGA.  137 

common  to  all  men  is  not  won  by  a  sceptic,  nor  the  other 
world,  nor  happiness  ;  for,  even  these  things  come  within 
the  sweep  of  his  doubt.     Wherefore  thou  shalt   not   doubt. 

Wherefore  ? — For, 

41.  Him  who  has  renounced  actions  by  Yoga, 
whose  doubts  have  been  cloven  asunder  by  wis- 
dom, who  is  self-possessed,  actions  bind  not, 
O  Dhana;»jaya. 

He  who  sees  the  Supreme  Being  renounces  all  actions  — 
dharma  and  a-dharma— by  virtue  of  Yoga  or  knowledge  of 
the  Supreme  Being.  He  attains  this  stage  when  his  doubt 
has  b3en  cloven  asunder  by  the  realisation  of  the  oneness 
of  the  Self  with  the  Isvara.  As  he  traces  all  actions  to  the 
interactions  of  the  energies  (gu/eas),  actions  do  not  bind 
him  ;  they  do  not  produce  any  effects  (good  or  bad)  in  the 
case  of  him  who,  in  virtue  of  his  Yoga,  has  renounced  all  ' 
actions  and  is  ever  watchful  over  his  self. 

Since  that  man  who,  in  virtue  of  the  practice  of  karma- 
yoga,  has  all  his  doubts  cut  asunder  by  knowledge  which 
arises  as  a  result  of  all  impurity  having  been  washed  away, 
is  not  bound  by  actions  because  they  have  been  consumed 
in  the  fire  of  wisdom,  and  since  that  man  is  ruined  who 
entertains  doubts  as  to  the  practice  of  karma  and  knowledge, 

42.  Therefore  with  the  sword  of  wisdom  cleave 
asunder  this  doubt  of  the  Self  lying  in  the  heart 
and  born  of  ignorance,  and  resort  to  Yoga.  Arise, 
O  Bharata. 

Doubt  is  most  sinful.     It  is  born  of  ignorance  and  lies  in 


138  THE  BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.      IV 

the  buddhi.     Kill  it  by  wisdom,  by  right  knowledge  of  the 

[The  word  "  atmana/i  "  means  '  of  the  Self,'  '  concerning 
the  Self,'  but  not  '  cherished  by  thyself.'  Arjmia's  doubt 
here  is  about  the  Self.  If  Arjuna  could  ever  think  that  one 
man's  doubt  is  ever  to  be  cut  by  another,  then  the  Lord 
might  say  '  kill  thy  doubt '  as  opposed  to  anothe/s  doubt. 
Even  if  Arjuna  has  been  asked  to  kill  the  doubt  concerning 
the  Self,  it  implies  also  that  the  doubt  is  one  cherished  by 

Knowledge  is  destructive  of  all  evil,  such  as  grief,  folly, 
and  the  like.  Having  thus  slain  doubt,  the  cause  of  thy 
ruin,  apply  thyself  to  Karma- Yoga,  the  means  of  acquiring 
right  knowledge.  Now  arise  and  fight,  O  descendant  of 



Which  is  better  for  the  ignorant,   Karma  =  Yoga 

or  Samnyasa? 

In  iv.  i8,  19,  21,  22,  24,  32,  33,  37  and  41,  the  Lord  has 
spoken  of  the  renunciation  of  all  actions ;  and  in  iv.  42  He 
has  exhorted  Arjuna  to  engage  in  Yoga,  in  performance  of 
action.  Owing  to  the  mutual  opposition  between  perform- 
ance of  action  and  renunciation  thereof  as  between  motion 
and  rest,  the  two  cannot  be  accomplished  by  an  individual 
at  one  and  the  same  time.  Neither  have  two  distinct  peri- 
ods of  time  been  prescribed  for  their  respective  observance. 
By  inference,  therefore,  only  one  of  them  forms  Arjuna's 
duty ;  so  that  thinking  that,  of  the  two, — performance  of 
action  and  renunciation  thereof, — he  should  resort  to  the 
better  of  the  two  to  the  exclusion  of  the  other,  Arjuna  asks 
(v.  i)  of  the  Lord  with  a  desire  to  know  which  is  the  better 
of  the  two. 

{Objection): — As  going  to  speak  of  entire  devotion  to  J/2ana- 
yoga  on  the  part  of  him  who  has  realised  the  Self,  the  Lord 
has  taught,  in  the  passages  quoted  above,  that  such  a  man 
has  to  renounce  action,  but  not  he  who  has  not  realised  the 
Self.  Since  performance  of  action  and  renunciation  of 
action  thus  pertain  to  two  distinct  classes  of  people  respect- 
ively, Arjuna's  question  with  a  view  to  know  which  of  the 
two  is  better  than  the  other  is  irrelevant. 

140  THE  bhagavad-gIta.  [Dis.  V. 

(Answey):— Yes;  from  your  standpoint  the  question  is  irre- 
levant. But  from  the  questioner's  (Arjuna's)  own  standpoint, 
the  question,  we  say,  is  quite  relevant. — How  ? — In  the 
passages  quoted  above,  tlie  Lord  enjoins  renunciation  as  a 
duty  (in  the  form  "  Let  the  wise  man  renounce")  ;  and  it 
cannot  be  enjoined  as  a  duty  unless  it  (the  term  'renounce') 
is  more  important  than  the  agent  {i.e.,  the  term  'wise') ;  so 
that  this  injunction  of  renunciation  should  be  extended  so  as 
to  apply  to  that  man  also  who  has  not  realised  the  Self, 
because  renunciation  is  elsewhere  enjoined  on  him  also." 
It  cannot  be  made  out  that  renunciation  of  action  is  here 
intended  for  that  man  only  who  has  realised  the  Self.f  Thus 
arguing,  Arjuna  thinks  that  an  ignorant  man  may  either 
perform  action  or  renounce  it.  But,  owing  to  the  mutual 
opposition  of  the  two  courses  as  shown  above,  only  one  of 
them  can  form  the  duty  (of  an  individual  at  a  time).  And 
inasmuch  as  it  is  the  better  one  of  the  two  that  should  be 
followed,  but  not  the  other,  the  question  with  a  view  to 
know  which  of  the  two  is  the  better  is  not  irrelevant. 

The  question  is  not  with  reference  to  the  enlightened. 

That  this  is  the  meaning  of  Arjuna's  question  is  also 
evident  from  an  examination  of  the  meaning  of  the  words  in 
reply. — How  ? — The  reply  runs  as  follows  :  "Sawmyasa 
and  Karma- Yoga  both  lead  to  the  highest  bliss  ;  but  Karma- 

I  •'  Whtn  he  is  full  of  vairagya  or  in-  to  enjoin  renunciation,  it  cannot  at  the 
difiercnce  to  all  worldly  concerns. — (A).  sametimeenjoin  that  renunciation  should 
t  The  Mima);isakas  hold  that  a  single  be  resorted  to  by  the  wise  alone  Else  it 
proposition  can  embody  but  a  single  in-  would  involve  the  fallacy  of  a  double  in- 
junction. Accordingly,  if  the  proposition  junction  in  a  single  proposition. 
"The  wise  should  renounce '.' be  meant 

Introduction.]  samnyAsa-yoga.  141 

Yoga  is  the  better  of  the  two"  (v.2).  We  should  now  ascer- 
tain: Is  it  in  reference  to  the  Karma- Yoga  and  the  Karma- 
Sawnyasa  resorted  to  by  a  man  who  has  realised  the  Self 
that  it  is  said  that  they  lead  to  the  highest  bliss  as  their 
result,  and  that  the  Karma- Yoga  is  for  some  reason  the 
better  of  the  two  ?  Or  is  it  in  reference  to  those  resorted  to 
by  a  man  who  has  not  realised  the  Self  that  the  statement 
is  made  ? — What  then  ?'•• — Listen:  As  a  man  who  has  reali- 
sed the  Self  resorts  to  neither  Karma- Yoga  nor  Sawnyasa, 
it  is  not  right  to  speak  of  them  as  alike  leading  to  the  high- 
est bliss,  or  of  the  superiority  of  his  Karma- Yoga  to  his 
Karma-Sawnyasa.  If,  for  a  man  who  has  realised  the  Self, 
Karma-Sa;;myasa  and  its  opposite — Karma- Yoga  (perform- 
ance of  action) — were  possible,  then  it  would  have  been 
right  to  speak  of  them  as  alike  leading  to  the  highest  bliss 
or  to  speak  of  the  superiority  of  his  Karma- Yoga  to  his  Kar- 
ma-Sa;;myasa.  Inasmuch  as,  however,  neither  Karma-Saw- 
nyasa  nor  Karma- Yoga  is  possible  for  a  man  who  has  realised 
the  Self,  it  is  not  right  to  speak  of  them  as  alike  leading  to 
the  highest  bliss,  or  to  say  that  Karma- Yoga  is  better  than 
Karma- Sa;;myasa. 

Karma- Yoga  and  Samnj'^asa  inapplicable  to  the 


{Question) : — Are  both  Karma- Yoga  and  Karma-Sa;/myasa 
impossible,  or  is  only  one  of  them  impossible,  for  a  man 
who  has  realised  the  Self?  If  only  one  of  them,  is  it  Karma- 
Yoga  or  Karma-Sa;/myasa  ?  What  is  the  reason  for  the 
impossibility  ? 

*  How  is  the  former  supposition  liable  suppositions  are  repeated  in  the  Bha- 
to  objection?  or  how  is  the  latter  reason-  shya,  but  they  have  been  omitted  in  the 
able? — (  Anandagiri  )     f  Here    the    two      translation]. 

142  THE  BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.  V. 

(Answer)  : — Since  the  man  who  has  realised  the  Self  is 
free  from  illusory  knowledge,  Karma- Yoga  which  is  based 
upon  illusion  must  be  impossible  for  him.  Here,  in  the 
Gita-5astra,  in  the  sections  treating  of  the  real  nature  of  the 
Self,  it  is  said  that  a  man  who  knows  the  Self,  who  knows 
himself  to  be  the  Self  that  is  devoid  of  all  changes  of  birth, 
&c.,  and  is  actionless,  and  whose  illusory  knowledge  has  been 
replaced  by  right  knowledge, — that  such  a  man  has  to 
renounce  all  actions,  ever  dwelling  in  the  true  actionless 
Self;  and  it  is  further  said  that,  owing  to  the  opposition 
between  right  knowledge  and  illusory  knowledge  as  well  as 
between  their  effects,  he  has  nothing  to  do  with  Karma- 
Yoga,  the  reverse  of  Karma- Sa;/myasa,  presupposing  an 
active  Self  and  based  on  the  idea  of  agency  caused  by  illusory 
knowledge.  Wherefore  it  is  but  right  to  say  that,  for  him 
who  has  realised  the  Self  and  who  is  free  from  illusory 
knowledge,  Karma- Yoga  which  is  based  upon  illusory 
knowledge  is  impossible. 

(Question)  : — What,  then,  are  the  sections  treating  of  the 
real  nature  of  the  Self  in  which  the  man  who  knows  the 
Self  is  said  to  have  no  action  to  do  ? 

(Answer)  : — In  ii.  17,  inii.  19  and  ii.  21,  and  in  other  places 
here  and  there,  the  man  who  has  realised  the  Self  is  said  to 
have  no  action  to  do. 

(Objection)  : — Karma- Yoga  is  also  taught  here  and  there 
in  the  sections  treating  of  the  real  nature  of  the  Self,  e.g.,  in 
ii.  18,  31,  47,  &c.  How,  then,  can  Karma- Yoga  be  said 
to  be  impossible  for  a  man  who  has  realised  the  Self  ? 

(  Answer  )  : — It  is  so,  because  there  is  an  opposition 
between  right  knowledge  and  illusory  knowledge  as  well  as 

Introduction.]  samnyasa-yoga.  143 

l)etween  their  efFects.  In  iii.  3  it  is  said  that  the  Sankhyas 
who  have  realised  the  true  nature  of  the  Self  apply  them- 
selves to  devotion  in  the  path  of  wisdom — ever  dwelling  in 
the  actionless  Self — as  distinguished  from  devotion  in  the 
path  of  action  which  is  intended  for  those  who  have  not 
realised  the  Self.  The  man  who  has  realised  the  Self  has 
no  longer  any  object  to  gain,  since  he  has  achieved  all. 
In  iii.  17  it  is  said  that  he  has  no  more  duties  to  perform. 
In  such  passages  as  iii.  4  and  v.  6  Karma- Yoga  is  enjoined 
as  an  accessory  to  the  acquisition  of  the  knowledge  of  the 
Self,  while  in  vi.  3  it  is  said  that  the  man  who  has  obtained 
right  knowledge  has  no  longer  anything  to  do  with  Karma- 
Yoga.  Further,  in  iv.  21  all  action  is  denied  to  him  except 
that  which  is  required  for  bodily  maintenance  ;  and  even 
with  reference  to  such  acts  of  hearing  and  seeing  as  may  be 
required  for  mere  bodily  maintenance,  the  man  who  knows 
the  true  nature  of  the  Self  is  directed  in  v.  8  always  to 
meditate  with  a  concentrated  mind  on  the  idea  that  '  it  is 
not  I  that  do  it.'  It  is  not  possible  to  imagine  even  in  a 
dream  that  the  man  who  knows  the  Self  can  have  anything 
to  do  with  Karma-Yoga,  so  opposed  to  right  knowledge  and 
entirely  based  upon  illusory  knowledge.  Wherefore  it  is  the 
Sawnyasa  and  the  Karma- Yoga  of  the  man  who  has  not 
realised  the  Self  that  are  spoken  of  (in  this  connection)  as  lead- 
ing alike  to  moksha.  This  Sawmyasa,  which  consists  in  ' 
renouncing  a  few  actions  only  while  yet  there  is  an  idea  of 
agency,'-  is  different  from  the  one  already  spoken  of,  from  the 

*  He  thinks  that  he  has  yet  to   learn  the    gnhasthas  or  the  second  religious 

what  the  Vedantas  or  the    Upanishads  order  (asrama).  This  sort  of  renunciation 

teach,  to  reason  about  it  and  to  meditate  is  thus  partial  and  is  meant   to  afford  to 

upon  it.     He  has  renounced  only   those  the  aspirant  greater  leisure  to  apply  him- 

actions  which  are  specially  enjoined  on  self  to  the  acquisition  of  spiritual  wisdom. 

144  THE    BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.  V. 

renunciation  of  all  actions, — which  is  resorted  to  by  the  man 
who  has  realised  the  Self.  The  former  becomes  very  difficult 
of  performance  as  it  is  further  associated  with  '  yama  '  and 
'  ni-yama '  and  the  like  (which  are  the  various  forms  of 
self-control).  Karma- Yoga  is  comparatively  easier  ot  per- 
formance and  is  therefore  spoken  of  as  the  better  of  the  two. 
Thus  an  examination  of  the  meaning  of  the  words  in  reply 
leads  also  to  the  same  conclusion  as  has  been  arrived 
at   before  as  regards  the  meaning  of  Arjuna's  question. 

At  the  beginning  of  the  Third  Discourse,  Arjuna,  seeing 
that  knowledge  and  action  could  not  coexist  in  one  man, 
asked  the  Lord  "  tell  me  that  which  is  the  better  of  the 
two;"  and  in  reply  the  Lord  declared  decisively  that  devo- 
tion in  the  path  of  knowledge  was  meant  for  the  Sankhyas — 
the  renouncers,  the  Sawnyasins, — and  that  devotion  in  the 
path  of  action  was  meant  for  the  Yogins.  And  from  the 
statement  "nor  by  mere  renunciation  does  he  attain  perfec- 
tion," ( iii.  4 )  it  is  clear  that,  in  the  view  of  the  Lord, 
renunciation  with  knowledge  is  a  means  of  attaining  perfec- 
tion. And  Karma- Yoga,  too,  must  lead  to  perfection,  inas- 
much as  it  has  been  enjoined  (iv.  42).  Arjuna  now  asks 
with  a  view  to  know  as  to  which  one  of  them.  Karma- Yoga 
or  Sa;«nyasa,  is  better  for  a  man  who  has  no  knowledge. 

Arjuna  said  : 

I.  Renunciation  of  actions,  O  l\r\shn?i,  Thou 
praisest,  and  again  Yoga.  Tell  me  conclusively 
that  which  is  the  better  of  the  two. 

Thou  teachest  renunciation  of  those  actions  which  are 
enjoined  in  the  5astras,  and  Thou  teachest  also  that  per- 
formance of  those  very  actions  is  necessary.     I  have,  there- 

1 — 2]  SAMNYASA-YOGA.  145 

fore,  a  doubt  as  to  which  of  them  is  better,  performance  of 
(prescribed)  actions  or  renunciation  of  those  actions.  It  is 
the  better  course  which  must  be  followed.  Wherefore  tell 
me  conclusively  that  one, — it  beinj;  impossible  for  one  man 
to  resort  to  both  at  the  same  time, — be  it  performance  of 
actions  or  renunciation  of  actions,  by  which  you  think  I 
may  attain  to  perfection. 

Karma  =  Yoga   suits   the    ignorant   better   than 


To  state  His  own  opinion  with  a  view  to  clear  the  doubt, 
the  Lord  says : 

The  Blessed  Lord  said  : 

2.  Renunciation  and  Yoga  through  action  both 
lead  to  the  highest  bliss;  but,  of  the  two.  Yoga 
through  action  is  esteemed  more  than  renunciation 
of  action. 

Sa;«nyasa  and  Karma-yoga,  renunciation  of  actions  and 
performance  of  actions,  both  lead  to  moksha,  as  giving  rise 
to  (spiritual)  knowledge.  Though  lx)th  lead  to  moksha,  yet, 
of  the  two  means  of  attaining  moksha,  Karma- Yoga  is  better 
than  mere — i.  e.,  unaccompanied  with  knowledge — Karma- 
sa»myasa.     Thus  the  Lord  has  praised  Karma- Yoga.  '•'• 

Wherefore  ? — The  answer  follows  : 

3.  He  should  be  known  as  a  perpetual  rcnouncer 
who  neither  hates  nor  desires  ;  for,   free  from  the 

-The  Lord  does  not  of  course  mean  that  is  a  far  higher   path   than    Karma-Yoga, 

Karma-Voga  is  superior  to  true  Karma-  though  the  latter  is  easier  tliaii,  and  there- 

samnyasa.    True   Karma-saHinyasa,  that  fore  perferable  to,  that   Karma-samnyasa 

which  is  jccouipanieJ    with  knowledge,  which io  unaccompanied  with  knowledge. 




1^.6  THE    BHAGAVAD-C-iTA.  [DiS.    V. 

pairs  of  opposites,  O  mighty-armed,  he  is  easily  set 
free  from  bondage. 

The  Karma- Yogin  who  neither  hates  pain  and  the  ob- 
jects causing  pain,  nor  desires  pleasure  and  the  objects 
causing  pleasure,  should  be  known  as  a  perpetual  renouncer 
(sawmyasin),  though  he  is  engaged  in  action. 

Sankhya  and  Yoga  lead  to  the  same  goal. 

(Objection) : — Sawnyasa  and  Karma- Yoga,  which  are 
meant  for  two  distinct  classes  of  people  and  are  opposed  to 
each  other,  should,  properly  speaking,  be  mutually  opposed 
in  their  results  also.  They  should  not,  on  the  other  hand, 
both  lead  to  moksha  alike. 

(Answer) : — the  Lord  says: 

4.  Children,  not  the  wise,  speak  of  Sankhya 
and  Yoga  as  distinct.  He  who  is  rightly  devoted 
to  even  one  obtains  the  fruits  of  both. 

It  is  children  who  speak  of  Sankhya  and  Yoga  as  pro- 
ducing distinct  and  opposite  results.  But  the  wise,  men 
of  knowledge,  believe  that  they  produce  but  one  harmo- 
nious result.  He  who  rightly  observes  even  one  of  them, 
Sankhya  or  Yoga,  obtains  the  fruits  of  both.  Both  lead  to 
the  same  result,  vis.,  moksha.  Wherefore,  there  is  no 
diversity  in  the  result. 

(Objection)  : — Having  started  v/ith  the  words  '  Sa»myasa  ' 
and  'Karma- Yoga',  how  is  it  that  He  speaks  of  Sankhya 
and  Yoga — with  which  v\-e  are  not  at  present  concerned — as 
producing  the  same  results  ? 

(Aiisuj^y) : — There  is  no  fault  here.     Arjuna  indeed  asked 

3 — 5-1  SAMNVASA-YOGA.  1 47 

tlie  (luestion  witli  reference  to  simple  Sa/z/nyasa  and  simple 
Karma- Yoj^a.  But  the  Lord,  without  leavin*;  these,  has 
added  to  them  some  additional  conceptions  of  His  own  and 
has  answered  the  question,  speaking  of  tliem  under  other 
names,  Sankhya  and  Yoga.  In  the  opinion  of  the  Lord, 
Sa;/myasa  and  Karma-Yoga  are  themselves  termed  Sankhya 
and  ^'oga  when  knowledge  of  the  Self  (j/nina)  and  equani- 
mity ( samabuddhitva)  are  respectively  added  to  them. 
Hence  no  irrelevant  topic. 

How  can  a  man  obtain  the  results  of  both  by  the  right 
observance  of  only  one  ? — The  answer  follows  : 

5.  That  state  which  is  reached  by  Sankhyas  is 
reached  by  Yogins  also.  He  sees,  who  sees  Sankhya 
and  Yoga  as  one. 

Sankhyas  are  those  who  are  devoted  to  knowledge  and 
have  renounced  the  world.  They  reach  the  state  called 
moksha.  The  same  state  is  reached  by  Yogins  also, — but 
indirectly,  through  the  attainment  of  true  knowledge  and 
renunciation, — by  those  who  perform  their  duties  as  a  means 
of  attaining  knowledge,' dedicating  them  to  the  Isvara,  and 
having  no  selfish  end  in  view.  That  man  sees  rightly  who 
sees  that  Sankhya  and  Yoga  are  one,  as  leading  to  an 
identical  result. 

{Question)  : — If  so,  Sawnyasa  must  be  .superior  to  Yoga. 
How  then  is  it  that  it  has  been  declared  that  Karma- Yoga 
is  better  than  Karma-sa;/myasa. 

[Anstver) : — Listen  why  it  is  so.  It  is  the  simple  Karma- 
sawnyasa  and  the  simple  Karma- Yoga  with  reference  to 
which  you  have  asked  me  "  which  one  is  the  better  of  the 
two?"     In  accordance  with   the  question,  My  answer  has 


148  THE    BIIAGAVAD-GiTA.  [DiS.  V. 

been  given — without  having  regard  to  knowledge — that 
Karma- Yoga  is  superior  to  Karma-sawnyasa.  But  that 
Sawnyasa  which  is  based  upon  knowledge  is  regarded  by  Me 
as  Stinkhya,  and  Silnkhya  itself  is  the  true  (paramartha) 
Yoga.  It  is  only  by  a  figure  that  the  Yoga  through  Vedic 
rites  is  called  Yoga  or  Sawmyasa,  inasmuch  as  it  conduces 
to  that  (true  Yoga  or  Sa;/myasa). 

Karma  Yoj^a  is  a  means  to  Samnyasa. 

How  is  it  that  the  aim  of  the  Karma- Yoga  is  that  (true 
Yoga  or  Samnyilsa)  ? — Listen  : 

6.  But  renunciation,  O  mighty-armed,  is  hard 
to  attain  except  by  Yoga  ;  a  sage  equipped  with 
Yoga  ere  long  reaches  Brahman. 

Renunciation  (Sawnyasa)  here  spoken  of  is  the  true 
(paramarthika)  Sa;.'myasa  ;  and  Yoga  is  the  Vedic  Karma- 
Yoga  (performance  of  \'edic  ritual)  dedicated  to  the  Isvara 
and  entirely  free  from  motives.  A  sage  (muni)  is  so  called 
because  of  his  meditation  (manana)  on  the  form  of  the  Isvara. 
'  Brahman '  here  means  renunciation  (sawnyasa,  which  is 
now  being  spoken  of),  because  renunciation  consists  in  the 
knowledge  of  the  Highest  Self  (Paramatman)  ;  and  the 
sruti  says : 

What  is   called  "Nyfisa"  is    Brahman  ;    and  Brahman 
is  verily  the  Great."  {Tait.  Up.  4-78). 

A  sage  equipped  with  Yoga  soon  reaches  Brahman,  the 
true  renunciation,  which  consists  in  steady  devotion  to  right 
knowledge.  Wherefore,  I  have  said  that  Karma- Yoga  is 

5 9]  SAMNYASA-YOGA.  149 

A  sage's  actions  do  not  affect  him. 

When  the  devotee  resorts  to  Yoga,  as  a  means  of  attain- 
ing right  knowledge : 

7.  He  who  is  equipped  with  Yoga,  whose  mind 
is  quite  pure,  by  whom  the  self  has  been  conquered, 
whose  senses  have  been  subdued,  whose  Self  has 
become  the  Self  of  all  beings, — though  doing,  he  is 
not  tainted. 

He  who  is  equipped  with  Yoga,  whose  mind  (atman, 
sattva)  has  been  purified,  who  has  conquered  the  body 
(atman,  the  self)  and  the  senses,  who  sees  rightly,  whose 
Inner  Consciousness,  the  Self,  has  formed  the  Self  of  all 
beings  from  Brahma  down  to  a  clump  of  grass, — he  will 
not  be  tainted,  i.e.,  he  will  not  be  bound  by  actions,  though 
he  may  continue  to  perform  them  for  the  protection  of  the 
masses,  /.  e.,  v.ith  a  view  to  set  an  example  to  the  masses, 

A  sage's  actions  are  really  no  actions. 

Neither  does  he  really  do  anything.     Wherefore, 

8 — g.  'I  do  nothing  at  all';  thus  should  the  truth- 
knower  think,  steadfast, — though  seeing,  hearing, 
touching,  smelling,  eating,  going,  sleeping,  breath- 
ing, speaking,  letting  go,  seizing,  opening  and 
closing  the  e3-es, — remembering  that  the  senses 
move  among  sense-objects. 

The  truth-knower  is  he  who  knows  the  true  nature  of  the 
Self,  who  sees  the  Supreme  Reality. — When  and  how 
should  he  think  so,  e\'er  intent  on  the  truth  ? — The  answer  is 
given  thus  :   '  though  seeing,  &c.' 

The  duty  of  the  man    who,  thus  knowing  the  truth  and 



thinking  rightly,  sees  only  inaction  in  actions — in  all  the 
movements  of  the  body  and  the  senses — consists  in  renounc- 
ing all  actions ;  for,  he  sees  the  absence  of  action.  The 
man,  for  instance,  who  thinks  of  quenching  his  thirst  in  a 
mirage,  mistaking  it  for  water,  will  not,  even  after  knowing 
that  it  is  no  water,  resort  to  the  same  place  for  the  purpose 
of  quenching  his  thirst. 

Karma=Yogin  is  untainted  by  the  results  of 

tiis  action. 

But  as  to  the  man  who  is  not  a  truth-knower  and  is  engag- 
ed in  action  : 

10.  He  who  does  actions,  offering  them  to 
Brahman,  abandoning  attachment,  is  not  tainted 
bv  sin,  as  a  lotus  leaf  b}-  water. 

He  offers  all  actions  to  the  Is\-ara,  in  the  faith  that  '  I 
act  for  His  sake',  as  a  servant  acts  for  the  sake  of  the 
master.  He  has  no  attachment  for  the  result,  even  for 
moksha.  The  result  of  actions  so  done  is  only  purity  of  the 
mind,  and  nothing  else. 


II  I3y  the  body,  by  the  mind,  by.  the  intellect, 
by  mere  senses  also,  Yogins  perform  action,  without 
attachment,  for  the  purification  cf  the  self. 

Mere  :  free  from  egotism,  resolute  in  the  faith  that  '  I  act 
only  for  the  sake  of  the  Lord,  not  for  my  benefit.'  'Mere' 
should  be  construed  along  with  'body'  &c.,  -y^ith  each  one 
of  them  separately.  Yogins  are  those  who  are  devoted  to 
works,  free   from  egotism  in  all  their  acts,  without   attach- 

(J — 13]  SAMWASA-VOGA.  I5I 

inent  for  their  results.  They  act  only  for  the  purification  of 
the  mind,  (sattva).  Wherefore,  as  thy  duty  lies  only  there, 
do  thou  only  perform  action. 

Also  because, 

12.  The  steady-minded  one,  abandoning  the 
fruit  of  action,  attains  the  peace  born  of  devotion. 
The  unsteady  one,  attached  to  the  fruit  through 
the  action  of  desire,  is  firmly  bound. 

The  steady- minded  man  who,  resolved  that  "  I  do  actions 
lor  the  sake  of  the  Lord,  not  for  my  benefit,"  abandons  the 
fruit  of  action  attains  the  peace  called  moksha,  as  the 
result  of  devotion,  through  the  following  stages  :  first,  purity 
of  the  mind  ;  then,  attainment  of  knowledge  ;  then,  renunci- 
ation of  all  actions  ;  and  lastly,  devotion  to  knowledge.  But 
he  who  is  unsteady  is  led  by  desire  and  is  attached  to  the 
fruit,  thinking  '  I  do  this  act  for  my  benefit.'  He  is  firmly 
bound.     \\'herefore,  be  thou  steady-minded. 

The  blissful  embodied  life  of  a  sage. 

But  as  to  the  man  who  sees  the  Supreme  Being, 

13.  Renouncing  all  actions  by  thought,  and 
Self-controlled,  the  embodied  one  rests  happily 
in  the  nine-gated  city,  neither  at  all  acting  nor 
causing  to  act. 

Actions  are  either  tlie  obligatory  duties  (nitya-karma«i),  or 
those  arising  on  the  occurrence  of  some  special  events  (nai- 
mittika-karma;n),  or  those  intended  for  securing  some  special 
ends,  and  which  are  only  optional  (kamya-karma;n),or  those 
v.hich  are  forbidden  (pratishiddha-karma»i).    The  man  who 

152  THE   "CHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.    V. 

jhas  subdued  the  senses,  renounces  all  actions  in  speech, 
1  thought,  and  deed,  by  discrimination,  by  seeing  inaction 
,  in  action,  and  rests  happily.  He  rests  happily  because  he 
;  has  given  up  all  action  in  speech,  thought  and  deed,  because 
he  is  without  worry,  because  his  mind  is  calm,  because, 
excepting  the  Self,  all  interests  (foreign  to  the  Self)  have 
departed  from  his  mind.v^Where  and  how  does  he  rest  ? — 
In  the  body  which  has  nine  openings  :  seven  in  the  head,  be- 
ing the  organs  of  sensation  ;  two  nether  ones  for  the  passage 
of  the  urine  and  the  dung.  As  having  these  nine  open- 
ings, the  body  is  said  to  be  a  nine-gated  city.  It  is  like  a 
city,  with  the  Self  for  its  Monarch,  inhabited  by  the  citizens 
of  the  senses,  mind,  intellect,  as  well  as  their  objects, — all 
working  for  the  sole  benefit  of  their  Lord  and  producing 
consciousness  of  various  objects.  In  such  a  nine-gated  city 
the  embodied  one  rests,  having  renounced  all  action. 

[Objection) : — Of  what  use  is  the  qualification  "  he  rests  in 
the  body"?  Every  man,  be  he  a  sawnyasin  or  not,  rests 
in  the  body  only.     So,  the  qualification  is  meaningless. 

[Answer): — He  that  is  ignorant  identifies  himself  with  the 
mere  aggregate  of  the  body  and  the  senses,  and  thinks :  "  I 
rest  in  a  house,  on  the  ground,  on  a  seat."  Such  a  man, 
regarding  the  mere  body  as  himself,  cannot  indeed  cherish 
the  idea  that  he  rests  in  the  body  as  in  a  house.  But  in  the 
case  of  a  man  who  regards  the  Self  as  distinct  from  the  ag- 
gregate of  the  body,  &c.,  the  idea  that  he  rests  in  the  body  is 
quite  possible.  And  it  is  also  right  that  he  should  renounce 
by  thought— by  knowledge,  by  discriminative  wisdom — -the 
action  attributed  to  the  Self  through  ignorace,  but  which 
really  pertains  to  the  not- Self.  Though  a  man  has  attain- 
ed discriminative  wisdom  (/.  e.,  has  realised  his  true  Self  as 


13 — 14]  SAMNYASA-YOGA.  I53 

distinguished  from  the  not-Self)  and  has  renounced  all  con- 
cern with  action,  still,  it  may  be  said  that  he  rests  in  the 
nine-gated  city  of  the  body  as  in  a  house,  inasmuch  ayfils  \ 
personal  consciousness  (of  resting)  arises  only  with  reference 
to  the  body  in  virtue  of  the  traces  of  the  unspent  portion 
of  the  prarabdha-karma— the  karma  which  brought  the 
present  body  into  existence — still  continuing  to  be  felt./Thus 
the  qualification  '  he  rests  in  the  body '  has  a  meaning,  as 
pointing  to  a  distinction  between  the  respective  standpoints 
of  the  wise  and  the  ignorant. 

{Objection) : — It  is  true  that  he  renounces  the  actions  of 
the  body  and  of  the  senses  attributed  falsely  to  the  Self 
through  ignorance  ;  still,  the  power  of  acting  and  of  causing 
to  act  may  be  m  the  Self  and  may  remain  in  him 
who  has  renounced  actions. 

(Aiisury): — The  Lord  says:  He  nsicher  acts  himself,  nor 
causes  the  body  and  the  senses  to  act. 

{Question)  : — Do  you  mean  that  the  power  of  acting  and  of 
causing  to  act  is  inherent  in  the  Self  and  that  it  ceases  by 
renunciation,  like  the  motion  of  a  moving  person  ;  or  that 
the  power  is  not  inherent  in  the  Self  ? 

(Answ:)') : — The  power  of  acting  or  of  causing  to  act  is  not 
inherent  in  the  Sslf ;  for,  the  Lord  has  taught  that  the  Self 
is  unchangeable  (ii.  23),  and  "though  seated  in  the  body, 
he  acts  not,  nor  is  he  tainted"  (xiii,  31).  Thesruti  says,  "It 
thinks  as  it  were  and  moves  as  it  were."  (B/i.    Up.  4-3-7). 

Nature  is  the  source  of  activity. 


14.     Neither  agency  nor   objects  does  the  Lord 


154  "^^^  BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS,  V* 

create  for  the  world,    nor  union  with  the   fruits  of 
actions.     But  it  is  the  nature  that  acts. 

The  Self,  the  Lord  (of  the  body),  does  not  create  agency 
i.  e.,  does  not  of  Himself  urgs  any  one  to  action,  '  do  this.' 
Neither  does  the  Self  create  cars,  jars,  mansions,  and  other 
objects  of  desire.  Nor  does  the  Self  unite  him  who  makes 
a  car  or  the  like  with  the  fruit  of  the  act. 

)  {Question): — If  the  Self  in  the  body  does  not  Himself  act 
nor  cause  others  to  act,  what  then  is  it  that  acts  and  causes 
others  to  act  ? 

{       [Anscvev)  : — ^Listen.      It    is  Nature,    Svabhava,   Prakriti, 
\  Maya,  '  the  Divine  Maya  made  up  of  gu;^as  '  -■'  (  vii.   14  ). 

Wisdom  and  Unwisdom. 

In  reality, 

15.  The  Lord  takes  neither  the  evil  nor  even 
the  good  deed  of  any  ;  wisdom  is  enveloped  by  un- 
wisdom; thereby  mortals  are  deluded. 

Of  any  :  even  of  His  devotees. 

[Question)  : — With  what  object  then  is  done  by  devotees 
any  msritorious  act,— an  act  of  worship,  sacrifice,  or  charity, 
the  offering  of  an  oblation  into  the  fire,  or  the  like  ? 

[Answer): — The  Lord  says  in  reply:  Discriminative 
knowledge  is  enveloped  by  ignorance.  Thereby  the  ignorant 
mortal  creatures  in  sa;//sara  are  deluded  and  think,  "  I  act, 
I  cause  to  act,  I  shall  enjoy,   I  cause  to  enjoy,"  and  so  on. 

16.  But  to  those  whose  unwisdom  is  destroyed 
by  wisdom  of  the  Self,  like  the  sun  wisdom  illumi- 
nates that  Supreme. 

*  That  is  10  say,  Mtmaii  forms  the  agpnt,        through  avidya— (A), 
the  enjoyer,  and   the    Lord   of  Creation, 

14 — 1 3.]  SAMNYASA-YOGA.  1 55 

When  that  unwisdom  bywhich  the  mortals  are  envelop- 
ed and  deluded  is  destroyed  by  wisdom  or  discriminative 
knowledge  (jf  the  Self,  then,  as  the  sun  illuminates  all 
objects,  so  wisdom  illuminates  the  whole  of  the  Know- 
able,  the  Supreme  Reality. 

The  sage  has  no  more  births. 

The  Supreme  Reality  having  been  illuminated  by  wisdom, 

17.  With  their  consciousness  in  That,  their 
Self  being  That,  intent  on  That,  with  That  for 
their  supreme  goal,  they  go  never  again  to  return, 
their  sins  shaken  off  by  means  of  wisdom. 

Fixing  their  consciousness  in  Brahman  and  realising  that 
the  very  Supreme  Brahman  is  tiieir  Self,  they  renounce  all 
actions  and  dwell  in  Brahman  alone, — the  Supreme  Brah- 
man being  their  highest  goal,  their  delight  being  solely  in 
the  unconditioned  Self.  ^-In  the  case  of  such  men,  all  sins 
and  other  causes  of  mundane  existence  (sawsara)  are 
destroyed  by  wisdom  described  above,  and  they  depart 
from  here,  never  returning  to  embodied  life. 

The  sagfe  sees  the  One  in  all  beings. 

How  do  those  wise  men  see  truth  whose  ignorance  of  the 
Self  has  been  removed  by  knowledge  ? — Listen  : 

18.  In  a  Brcihma;?a  endued  with  wisdom  and 
humility,  in  a  cow,  in  an  elephant,  as  also  in  a 
dog  and  in  a  dog-eater,''^  the  wise  see  the  same. 

Humility  is  tranquillity,  the  condition  of  a  well-disciplin- 

*  .\  chaik/ala,  an  outcaste. 

15^  THE  BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DlS.    V. 

ed  soul.  Of  the  creatures  mentioned,  the  highest  is  the 
brahma/^a  who  is  spiritually  regenerated  and  highly  Sattvic 
{iic,  in  whom  the  energy  oi  Sattv a  predominates).  Next 
comes  thecow,  not  spiritually  regenerated,  and  Rajasic  [i.e., 
in  which  the  energy  of  Rajas  predominates).  Last  come 
the  elephant,  &c.,  which  are  purely  Tamasic  (the  energy  of 
Tamas  predominating).  In  all  of  them  the_sages  see  the 
same,  the  One  who  is  immutable  in  Himself  and  quite  un- 
touched by  Sattva  and  other  energies,  or  by  the  tendencies 
born  of  those  energies,  whether  Sattvic,  Rajasic,  or 

The  sage  is  liberated  while  still  on  earth. 

[Objection)  : — They  (the  sages  just  spoken  of)  are  sinful 
persons,  whose  food  should  not  be  eaten  by  others.  For,  the 
Law  says : 

"Where  one's  equals  are  honored  in  a  different  manner, 
and  where  parsons  who  are  not  one's  equals  are  honor- 
ed in  the  same  manner  as  oneself,  a  dinner  must  not 
be  eaten."     (Gautama's  Institutes,  xvii.  20.) 

{AnsK>er) : — They  are  not  sinful ;  for, 

ig.  Even  here  birth  is  overcome  by  them  whose 
mind  rests  on  equalit}^  Spotless,  indeed,  and 
equal  is  Brahman ;  wherefore  in  Brahman  the}' 

Even  while  living  here  on  earth,  birth  has  been  brought 
under  control  by  those  sages  who  see  the  One,  and  whose 
intuition  (anta/j-kara«a)  rests  unwavering  on  the  equality 
[i.  c,  homogeneity)  of  Brahman  in  all  creatures.  Though, 
to  the  ignorant,  Brahman  in  such  impure  bodies  as  those  of 

l8 — 19.]  SAMNYASA-YOGA.  I57 

dog-eaters  and  the  like  appears  to  be  contaminated  by  their 
impurities,  yet  He  is  unaffected   by  them  and  is  therefore 
spotless.     Further,  He  is  not   hetero^^eneous  either,  o\vinf( 
to  any  heterogeneous  attributes  inherent  in  Himself;  for, 
consciousness  (chaitanya)  has  no  attributes.    And  the  Lord 
speaks   of  desire  and  the  like  as  tlia  attributes  of  the   Kshe- 
tra — of  the  body,  of  the  not-Self  (xiii  6), — and  He   speaks 
also   of  the    Self  as    beginningless  and  without  attributes 
(xiii. 31).     Nor  are  there  what  are  called   '  ultimate  particu- 
lars (antyaviseshas) '  as  the  basis  of  individual  distinctions 
in  the  Self,  since  no  evidence  can  be  adduced  to  prove  their 
existence  in  relation  to  tlie  several  bodies. '•'■  Hence  Brahman 
is  homogeneous  and  one.     Wherefore  they  (the  sages)   rest 
in  Brahman  only.     Not   in   the   slightest  can  blemishes  of 
bodies  affect  them,  since  they  liave  no  egotism  and   do   not 
identify  themselves  with  the  aggregate  of   the  body  and  the 
like.     It  is  only  to  those  who  are  egotistic  and  who  identify 
the  Self  with  the  aggregate  of  the  body  and  the  like,  that  the 
institute   quoted    above   is   applicable,    since   it    refers    to 
persons  who  are  the  objects  of  honor.  In  honoring  and  giving 
gifts,   some  special   qualifications   are   taken  into  account, 
such  as  a  knowledge  of  Brahman,  a  knowledge  of  the  six 
auxiliary  sciences  (a;/gas),  a  knowledge  of  the  four  Vedas 
and  the  like.  But  Brahman  is  free  from  all  attributes,  good 

■*  According   to  the  Vaiseshika  system  are   thus  enumerated  : — The    atoms     of 

of  philosophy  '  niityn-viscsha'   is    that  in-  Earth,  of  Water,   of  Light,    and  of  Air  ; 

definable   peculiar   attribute   inherent  in  ^Ikasa  (ether),  Time,  Space, /I tman  (soul) 

an  eternal  substance  which  distinguishes  ^'"d  Manas   (mind).    The    nntyii-viseshas 

it  from  another   eternal  substance.     It  is  '"   '''o   .4tman  is  only   inferrible  from  a 

that  in  an  eternal  substance  which  marks  distinction  in  the  Self,  for  which  W-danta 

its  individual   identity.    The  existence  of  sees  no  evidence.      Distinctions    in   the 

such  an  attribute  is  only  inferred  in  order  ^°'^y  cannot  certainly  point  to  distinctions 

to  account  for  a  distinction  which  is  other-  '"  '^"^  S^'f  since  a  yogin  can  simultane- 

wise  perceived.    The  eternal  substances  °"s'>'  assume,  various  bodies. 

158  THE  BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.  V. 

and  bad.     Hence  the  statement  '  they   rest   in   Brahman.'  a 
Moreover,  the  institute  quoted  above  is  taken  from  a  section 
which  is  concerned  with  works  (Karma),  whereas  this  portion 
of  the  GIta    (from  v.   13   to   the  end  of  the    adhyaya)     is 
a  section  treating  of 'renunciation  of  all  works. 

The  sage  is  free  from  grief  and  rejoicing. 

Because  Brahman,  the  Self,  is  blemishless  and  homoge- 
neous, therefore, 

20.  He  who  knows  Brahman  can  neither  rejoice 
on  obtaining  the  pleasant,  nor  grieve  on  obtaining 
tho  unpleasant, — steady-minded,  undeluded,  resting 
in  Brahman. 

Pleasant  and  unpleasant  objects  can  cause  pleasure  and 
pain  to  them  only  who  regard  the  body  as  the  Self,  not  to 
him  who  sees  thepure  Self,  since  the  latter  never  comes 
by  pleasant  and  unpleasant  objects.  He  is  undoubtingly 
conscious  that  t_he  Self  is  one,  homogeneous,  and  spotless 
in  all  creatures.  He  is  free  from  delusion.  He  rests  in 
Brahman  described  above ;  that  is,  he  does  no  action,  he 
has  renounced  all  action. 

The  sage's  infinite  joy. 

Moreover,  resting  in  Brahman, 

21.  With  the  self  unattached  to  external  con- 
tacts, he  finds  the  joy  which  is  in  the  Self;  with 
the  Self  engaged  in  the  contemplation  of  I>rahman 
he  attains  the  endless  joy. 

When  his  intuition   (antaA-kara«a)  is  uncontaminated  by 
attachment  to  things  contacted  by  the  senses,  to  the  sound 

19 — 22.]  SAMNYASA-YOGA.  159 

and  other  sense-objects  which  are  all  external  (to  the  Self), 
the  sage  realises  the  joy  which  there  is  in  the  Self.  When 
his  intui^on  (  anta/i-kara«a )  is  engaged  in  Yoga,  in 
Samadhi,  in  a  deep  and  steady  contemplation  of  Brahman, 
then  the  sage  attains  the  imperishable  bliss.  Therefore,  he 
who  seeks  for  the  endless  joy  of  the  Self  should  withdraw 
the  senses  from  the  momentary  pleasure  of  external  objects. 

For  the   following  reason  also  he  should    withdraw   (the 
senses  from  external  objects) : — 

22.  For,  those  delights  which  arc  born  of 
contacts  are  only  generators  of  pain,  having  a 
beginning  and  an  end,  O  son  of  Kunti  ;  a  wise  man 
rejoices  not  in  them. 

The  pleasures  that  are  caused  by  contacts  of  the  senses 
with  sense-objects  are  only  generators  of  pain,  since  those 
delights  are  caused  by  nescience  (avidya).  We  do  find  that 
all  troubles  arising  in  the  body  (adhyatmika),  etc.,  are  tra- 
ceable to  them  (delights)  only.  As  in  this  world,  so  in  the 
other, — as  the  word  'only'  indicates.  Seeing  that  there  is 
no  trace  of  joy  in  the  sawsara,  the  devotee  should  withdraw 
the  S2ns23  from  the  mirage  of  sense-objects.  Not  only  do 
the  delights  cause  pain,  but  also  they  have  a  beginning  and  an 
end.  The  contact  of  a  sense  with  its  object  marks  the  begin- 
nin^j)f  a  pleasure,  and  their  separation  its  end.  Delights  are 
temporary,  occurring  in  the  moment  of  interval  (between 
the  origin  and  the  end).  A^nian  who  possesses  discrimina- 
tion and  who  has  realised  the  Supeme  Reality  does  not  re- 
joice in  them.  It  is  only  quite  ignorant  persons  that  are, 
like  cattle  and  the  like,  found  to  rejoice  in  the  sense-objects. 

i6o  THE  bhagavad-gIta.  [Dis.  v. 

The  path  of  Nirvana. 

And  there  is  also  a  wicked  thing,  an  enemy  on  the 
path  to  Bliss,  a  most  difficult  thing  to  deal  with,  the  source 
of  all  evil,  very  difficult  to  ward  off,  so  that,  very  mighty 
efforts  should  be  made,  says  the  Lord,  to  repel  the  enemy  : 

23.  He  that  is  able,  while  still  here,  to  with- 
stand, before  liberation  from  the  body,  the  impulse 
of  desire  and  anger,  he  is  a  Yogin,  he  is  a  happy 

While  still  here  :  while  yet  living.  Before  liberation  fioiii 
the  body :  up  to  the  point  of  death.  By  thus  marking  death 
as  the  limit,  the  Lord  teaches  that  the  impulse  of  desire  and 
anger  is  unavoidable  during  life,  since  its  causes  are  in- 
numerable, and  that  till  the  very  moment  of  death  it  should 
not  be  trusted..  Desire  (Kama)  is  the  longing  for  a  pleasure- 
giving  agreeable  object  of  our  experience  when  coming  with- 
in the  ken  of  our  senses,  heard  of,  or  remembered ;  and 
anger  (krodha)  is  the  aversion  for  the  disagreebale,  for  the 
cause  of  pain,  when  being  seen,  heard  of,  or  remembered. 
The  impulse  of  desire  (kama)  is  the  agitation  of  the  mind 
(anta/i-kara//a)  as  indicated  by  hairs  standing  on  end  and  by 
a  joyful  countenance  ;  and  the  impulse  of  anger  is  the  men- 
tal agitation  indicated  by  the  trembling  of  the  body,  by 
perspiration,  lip-biting,  fiery  eyes,  and  the  like.  He  who 
can  withstand  the  impulses  of  desire  and  anger  is  a  Yogin, 
and  he  is  a  happy  man  here  on  earth. 

What  sort  of  a  man  resting  in  Brahman  attains  Brah- 
man?— The  Lord  says  : 

24.  Whoso  has  his  jo}'  within  and  his  pastime 
within,  and  whoso  has  his  light  within   only,   that 

23 — 26]  SAMNYASA-YOGA.  l6l 

Yogin  attains  Brahman's  bliss,  himself  becoming 

Within:  in  the  Self.  He  attains  the  bliss  (nirva«a)  in 
Brahman, — /.  c,  he  attains  moksha, — while  still  living  here 
on  earth. 


25.  The  sages  attain  Brahman's  bliss, — they 
whose  sins  have  been  destroyed  and  doubts  remov- 
ed, who  are  self-controlled  and  intent  on  the 
welfare  of  all  beings. 

Sages    (/?ishis) :  men  of  right  knowledge  and   renuncia- 
tion.    Intent,  &c.  :  injuring  none. 


26.  To  the  devotees  who  are  free  from  desire 
and  anger,  who  have  controlled  their  thought,  and 
w^ho  have  known  the  Self,  Brahman's  bliss  exists 

Those  who  have  renounced  all  actions  and  attained  right 
knowledge  are  liberated,  whether  living  or  dead. 

Realisation  of  the  Lord  by  Dhyana-Yoga. 

It  has  been  said  that  those  who,  renouncing  all  actions, 
remain  steady  in  right  knowledge  obtain  instant  liberation. 
It  has  often  been  and  will  be  declared  by  the  Lord  that 
Karma- Yoga,  which  is  performed  in  complete  dev^otion  to  the 
Lord  and  dedicated  to  Him,  leads  to  moksha  step  by  step  : 
fiyst  the  purification  of  the  mind,  then  knowledge,  then 
renunciation  of  all  actions,  and  lastly  moksha.  And  now, 
with  a  view  to  propound  at  length  the  Dhyana-Yoga,  the 
proximate  means  to  right  knowledge,  the  Lord  teaches  the 


l62  THE    BHAGAVAD-GITA,  [DiS.    V. 

Dhyana-Yoga  in  the  following  few  aphoristic  verses  : 

27-28.  Shutting  out  all  external  contacts  and 
fixing  the  sight  between  the  eye-brows,  equalising 
the  out-going  and  the  in-going  breaths  which  pass 
through  the  nostrils,  controlling  the  senses,  mind 
and  intellect,  having  moksha  as  his  highest  goal, 
free  from  desire,  fear  and  anger, — the  sage  who 
ever  (remains  thus)  is  verily  liberated. 

The  sound  and  other  sense-objects  enter  the  mind  within 
through  the  respective  organs.  These  objects  which  are 
external  are  kept  outside  when  a  man  does  not  think  of 
them.  A  sage  (muni)  is  one  who  is  given  to  contemplation 
(manana)  and  who  renounces  all  actions.  Keeping  the  body 
in  the  posture  described,  he  should  always  look  up  to 
moksha  as  his  supreme  goal.  When  the  sage  leads  constant- 
ly this  kind  of  life,  renouncing  all,  he  is  no  doubt  liberated  : 
he  has  nothing  else  to  do  for  liberation. 

What  has  he — he  whose  mind  is  thus  steadily  balanced — 
to  know  and  meditate  upon  in  the  Dhyana-Yoga  ? 

2g.  On  knowing  Me, — the  Lord  of  all  sacrifices 
and  austerities,  the  Great  Lord  of  all  worlds,  the 
Friend  of  all  beings, — he  goes  to  Peace. 

I  am  Naraya/ja,  the  Lord  of  all  sacrifices  and  austerities, 
both  as  their  author  and  as  their  Devata  {i.  c,  as  the  God 
whose  grace  is  sought  by  their  means).  I  am  the  Friend  of 
all,  doing  good  to  them  without  expecting  any  return  for  it. 
Lying  in  the  heart  of  all  beings,  I  am  the  dispenser  of  the 
fruits  of  all  actions  and  the  witness  of  all  cognitions.  On 
knowing  Me,  they  attain  peace,  the  cessation  of  all  saw^sara. 


Dhyana-yogfa  is    incompatible  with  works. 

At  the  close  of  the  next  preceding  Discourse,  Dhyiina- 
Yoga — Yoga  by  meditation, — which  is  the  proximate  means 
to  right  knowledge  has  been  taught  in  a  few  aphoristic  verses 
(v.  27-29).  Here  commences  the  Sixth  Discourse  which 
occupies  the  position  of  a  commentary  thereon.  Now,  action, 
(karma)  is  an  external  aid  to  Dhyana-Yoga  ;  and  a  i:^)i- 
hastha,  (householder)  on  whom  action  is  enjoined,  should 
perform  it  till  he  is  able  to  attain  to  Dhyina-yoga ;  and 
bearing  this  in  mind,  the  Lord  extols  action  in  vi.  i. 

{Objection)  : — '•■Now,  since  action  which  is  enjoined  should 
be  performed  throughout  life,  what  is  the  meaning  of  the 
limitation,  '  till  he  is  able  to  attain  to  Dhyana-Yoga'  ? 

(Ansii'ey): — This  objection  does  not  apply  here,  because 
of  the  specification  that,  '  for  the  sage  who  wishes  to  attain 
to  Yoga,  action  is  the  means'  (vi.  3) ;  and  because  it  is  also 
said  that  he  who  has  attained  Yoga  has  only  to  resort  to 
renunciation  (sama).  If  it  were  meant  that  each  of  them — 
he  who  wishes  to  attain  to  Yoga  as  well  as  he  who  has 
attained  to  Yoga — should  resort  to  both  action  and  renun- 
ciation, then  it  would  be  useless  to  specify  that  action  and 
renunciation  are  respectively  intended  for  him  who  wishes 

*  The   Samuchchaya-Vadin  maintains      action  if  it  should  produce  the  intended 
that  knowledge  should  be  conjoined  with      result. 

164  THE    BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.    VI. 

to  attain  Yoga  and  for  him  who  has  attained  Yoga,  or  to 
divide  them  into  two  distinct  classes. 

{The  opponent) : — Among  reUgious  devotees  (asraniins=gn- 
hasthas),  one  class  comprises  persons  who  wish  to  attain 
Yoga,  another  class  comprises  persons  who  have  already- 
attained  Yoga,  while  the  rest  are  those  who  neither  wish 
to  attain  Yoga  nor  have  attained  Yoga ;  and  it  is  but  right 
that  the  first  two  classes  should  be  specified  and  shown 
separately  as  distinguished  from  the  third.  * 

(Answer): — No;  the  words  'for  the  sanie  devotee 
(in  vi.  3)  and  the  repetition  of '  yoga '  in  the  clause  '  when  he 
has  attained  to  Yoga '  imply  this,  that  the  same  person  who 
at  first  wished  to  attain  to  Yoga  has  only  to  renounce  action 
when  he  has  attained  Yoga,  this  renunciation  leading  to  the 
fruition  of  Yoga.  Thus,  no  action  forms  a  necessary  duty 
throughout  life. 

Failures  in  Yoga  are  also  spoken  of  here  (vi.  37,  38).  If, 
in  the  Sixth  Discourse,  Yoga  were  meant  for  a  grihastha, 
then  there  could  be  no  occasion  for  the  supposition  of  his 
ruin,  inasmuch  as  he,  though  a  failure  in  Yoga,  may  obtain 
the  fruit  of  Karma.  An  action  done,  whether  interested 
{kamya),  or  obligatory  and  disinterested  (juYj^),  must  produce 
its  effect ; — (it  cannot  of  course  produce)  moksha,  which, 
being  eternal,  cannot  be  produced  by  an  action.  We  have 
also  said  i  that  the  obligatory  duty  (nitya-karma),  as  taught 
by  so  great  an  authority  as  the  Veda,  must  produce  a  result 

*  The  opponent  drives  at  this  conclu-  sthas,    renounce     Karma,     though     they 

sion,  that  while  the  first  and  third  classes  may  practise  Yoga  with  a  view  to   realise 

of  aspirants  are  bound  to  perform  Karma,  the   true  nature  of  the  Self, 

those  who  have   attained   Yoga    should  i  Vide  commentary  on  iv.  i8. 
not,  as  belonging  to  the  order  ofgriha- 

Introduction.]  diivAna-ygga.  165 

of  its  own,  since,  otherwise,  the  Veda  would  serve  no 
purpose.  Neither  would  it  be  proper  to  speak  of  agnhastha 
as  a  failure  in  both  ways ;  for  he  would  still  perform  Karma 
and  there  would  therefore  be  no  occasion  for  a  failure  therein. 
{The  oppoiunt): — The  Karma  which  has  been  done  has 
been  oflered  to  the  Lord  ;  wherefore,  such  Karma  can  bring 
in  no  result  to  the  author. 

{Ansii>er)'.—^o\  for,  the  offering  of  Karma  to  the  Lord 
must  lead  to  still  greater  results. 

{The  oppojunt)  : — It  leads  only  to  moksha. — The  offering 
of  all  actions  to  the  Lord,  when  conjoined  with  Yoga,  leads 
to  moksha  and  to  no  other  result ;  but,  since  he  has  failed  in 
Yoga,  it  is  but  right  to  suppose  that  such  a  man  will  be 

{Ansiver): — No;  for,  the  verses  vi.  10,14,  enjoin  renun- 
ciation of  action.  It  is  not  possible  to  think  of  any  kind  of 
wife's  aid  at  the  time  of  Dhyana ;  if  it  were  possible, 
then  it  might  be  argued  that  loneliness  is  enjoined  (vi.  10) 
with  a  view  to  prohibit  that  aidf .  And  what  is  taught  in 
vi.  10 — "without  desire,  without  property" — is  not  compat- 
ible with  the  life  of  a  gnhastha.  The  question  (vi.  38),  too, 
regarding  him  who  may  prove  a  failure  in  both  ways  would 
not  arise. 

{The  opponent) : — In  vi.  i,  a  man  of  action  (Karmin)  is  said 
to  be  both  a  Sa>;myasin  and  a  Yogin,  and  it  is  further  said 
that  he  who  does  no  action  or  keeps  no  fire  cannot  be  a 
Yogin  or  a  Sa»/nyasin. 

{Ansiver): — No;  vi.  i,  merely  extols  the  abandonment  of 

t    That   is  to    say,    Dhyina-\j)ga  _as       he  cannot  fulfil  the  conditions  laid  down 
taught  in  "the  se^el  is  not  meant  for  a        fn  vi.  lo,  14,  etc. 
grihastha  who  is  engaged  in  works;   for 

l66  THE    BIIAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.  VI. 

attachment  for  results  of  actions,  performance  of  which 
forms  an  external  aid  (bahiranga)  to  Dhyana-Yoga,  {i.  e. 
which  leads  one  to  DhyAna-Yoga  in  due  course). -y^lt  is 
not  he  alone  who  is  without  fire  and  without  action  that  is 
both  a  Sa7;myasin  and  a  Yogin,  but  also  one  devoted  to  action, 
who,  abandoning  attachment  for  the  results  of  actions,  per- 
forms them  for  the  purification  of  the  mind  (sattva-suddhi). 
Thus  by  way  of  praise  the  latter  is  said  to  be  a  Sawmyasin 
and  a  Yogin.  /  It  is,  moreover,  not  proper  to  hold  that  one 
and  the  same  proposition,"''  both  praises  the  abandonment 
of  attachment  for  results  of  actions  and  forbids  the  fourth 
order.  Further,  the  Lord  cannot  contradict  the  sruti,  the 
smriti,  the  Pura;/as,  the  Itihasa  and  the  Yoga-sastras,  which 
clearly  teach  that  a  man  who  is  without  fire  and  without 
action — i.e  who  is  literally  a  sa7;znya.sin — is  a  Samnyasin  and 
a  Yogin.  To  forbid  the  fourth  order  would  contradict  what 
the  Lord  Himself  teaches   in  iv.  13,  xii.  16,  19,  ii.  71. 

Therefore,  for  the  sage  who  wishes  to  attain  Yoga  and 
has  already  entered  on  the  career  of  a  grihastha,  action 
(such  as  the  Agnihotra)  performed  without  a  desire  for  its 
fruit  becomes,  by  v/ay  of  purifying  the  mind,  a  means  to 
Dhyana-Yoga.  On  this  ground  he  is  said  to  be  a  Sa7;myasin 
and  a  Yogin  by  way  of  praise. 

Renunciation  in  action 


The  Blssed  Lord  said  : 

I.  He  who,  without  depending  on  the  fruits 
of  action,  performs  his  bounden  duty,  he  is  a 
Sa7»nyasin  and  a  Yogin  :  not  he  who  is  without 
fire  and  without  action. 

*  I'icle  note  1  on  p.  140. 

1.]  dHyana-yoga.  167 

He  who  desires  the  fruits  of  actions  is  dependent  thereon  ; 
but  different  from  him  is  the  man  in  question  ;  he  is  not  de- 
pendent on  the  fruits  of  actions. 

He  who  is  thus  free  from  a  desire  for  the  fruits  of  actions 
and  performs  action,  such  as  the  Agnihotra  or  fire-sacrifice 
as  a  bounden  duty  (nitya-karma), — not  as  a  kamya-karma 
or  action  done  with  a  motive,  as  a  means  of  attaining  some 
immediate  specific  end  in  view, — he  who  performs  actions 
thus  is  superior  to  those  who  perform  actions  in  a  different 
spirit.  With  a  view  to  impress  this  truth,  the  Lord  says 
that  he  is  a  Sa;/myasin  and  a  Yogin.  He  should  be  regarded 
as  possessing  both  the  attributes,  the  attributes  of  renun- 
ciation (sa/«nyasa)  and  steadfastness  of  mind  (Yoga).  Not 
he  alone  should  be  regarded  as  a  sa;/myasin  and  a  Yogin 
who  is  without  fire  and  without  action,  who  neither  lights 
sacrificial  fires  nor  engages  in  other  actions,  such  as  austeri- 
ties and  the  like  which  require  no  help  of  sacrificial  fires. 

{Objection)  : — In  the  sruti,  in  the  sninti,  and  in  the  yoga- 
sastras,  it  is  plainly  taught  that  a  Sa«myasin  or  a  Yogin  is 
one  who  is  without  fire  and  without  action.  How  is  it  that 
the  Lord  teaches  here  a  strange  doctrine  that  he  who  lights 
fire  and  performs  actions  is  a  Sa//myasin  and  a  Yogin  ? 

[Ansic'cr) : — This  is  not  to  be  regarded  as  a  fault  ;  for,  it  is 
intended  to  represent  a  devotee  to  action  as  a  Sa»myasin 
and  a  Yogin  in  a  secondary  sense  of  the  two  terms. 
He  is  regarded  as  a  Sa/;myasin  because  of  his  renunciation 
of  the  thoughts  concerning  the  fruits  of  action  ;  and  he  is 
regarded  as  a  Yogin  because  he  performs  action  as  a  means 
of  attaining  to  Yoga  or  because  he  abandons  thoughts  con- 
cerning the  fruits  of  actions    as   causing  unsteadiness   of 

1 68  THE  bhagavad-gIta.  [Dis.  VI. 

mind.  Thus,  it  is  only  in  a  secondary  sense  that  the  two 
terms  are  applied  to  him.  It  is  not,  on  the  other  hand, 
meant  that  he  is  in  reality  a  Sawnyasin  and  a  Yogin.  The 
Lord,  accordingly,  says  : 

2.  Do  thou,  O  Pan^ava,  know  Yoga  to  be  that 
which  they  call  renunciation  ;  no  one,  verily,  be- 
comes a  Yogin  who  has  not  renounced  thoughts. 

Do  thou  understand  that  the  Yoga,  which  consists  in 
performance  of  action,  is  that  which  those  who  are  versed 
in  the  sruti  and  the  smnti  declare  to  be  sawmyasa,  the  true 
renunciation  which  consists  in  the  abandonment  of  all 
action  as  well  as  its  fruit. 

(Question) : — On  what  point  of  similarity  between  Karma- 
Yoga  which  consists  in  the  performance  of  action  (pravntti) 
and  the  pure  Sawnyasa  which  consists  in  abstaining  from 
action  (nivntti)  is  the  representation  of  identity  of  the 
former  with  the  latter  based  ? 

(Answey) : — There  is  of  course  a  certain  amount  of  simi- 
larity between  Karma- Yoga  and  pure  sa/zmyasa  so  far  as  the 
agent  is  concerned.  For,  he  who  is  a  pure  Sa;;myasin,  who 
has  renounced  all  actions  as  well  as  their  accessories, 
abandons  thoughts  (saw/kalpa)  concerning  all  actions  and  ^ 
their  fruits, — those  thoughts  causing  the  desires  which  impe' 
one  to  action.  A  follower  of  Karma- Yoga,  too,  renounces 
thoughts  of  results,  while  he  performs  actions.  This  the 
Lord  teaches  in  the  following  words  :  No  devotee  to  action 
who  has  not  given  up  the  thought  of  reward  can  be  a  Yogin, 
a  man  of  steadfastness  ;  for,  the  thought  of  reward  causes 
unsteadiness  of  mind.  That  is  to  say,  that  devotee  to  action 

1—^3]  ■      DHYANA-YOGA.  1 69 

who  has  given  up  all  thoughts  of  reward  will  become  a 
Yogin,  a  man  of  steadfastness,  a  steady-minded  mati,  inas- 
much as  all  thought  of  reward  which  is  the  cause  of 
unsteadiness  has  been  given  up. 

Action  is  a  stepping-stone  to  Dhyana-Yoga. 

Thus,  having  regard  to  the  likeness  between  pure 
Sawmyasa  and  Karma- Yoga  in  so  far  as  the  devotee  in  either 
case  renounces  (the  thoughts  concerning  the.  fruit  of 
action),  Karma-Yoga  has  been  represented  in  \i.  2.  as 
Sawmyasa  with  a  view  to  extol  it.  And  the  Lord  extols  it 
because  the  Karmi-Yoga,  practised  without  regard  to 
the  fruit  of  action,  forms  an  external  aid  (bahira//ga)  to 
Dhyana-Yoga, /.<:.,  leads  the  devotee  to  Dhyiina-Yoga  (in 
due  course).  He  now  proceeds  to  show  how  Karma- Yoga 
is  a  means  to  Dhyana-Yoga. 

j.  For  a  devotee  who  wishes  to  attain  to  Yoga, 
action  is  said  to  be  the  means.  For  the  same  (de- 
votee), when  he  has  attained  to  Yoga,  quiescence 
(sama)  is  said  to  be  the  means. 

For  a  devotee  (muni)  who  has  given  up  the  fruit  of  action, 
and  who  wishes  to  attain  to  Yoga,—/,  c.  who  has  not  already 
risen  to  it,  who  is  unable  to  remain  steady  in  Dhyana- 
Yoga, — action  (karma)  is  said  to  be  the  means  '•'  of  attaining 
his  end.  For  the  same  devotee,  on  the  other  hand,  when 
he  has  attained  to  Yoga,  quiescence — i.e.,  the  abstaining  from 
,all  action — is  said  to  be  the  means  (of  attaining  his  end). 
The  more  thoroughly  does  he  abstain  from  action,  the  more 
free  he  is  from  trouble,  the  more  the  senses  are  controlled. 

His  end  is   Dhyana-Yoga,  and  this        the  niinU  aiiU   ihca   citaies  dcsiru  und 
he  attains  by  action  'which  first  purffies        capacity  for  Dhyana-Yoga. 


1/0  THE    BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.  VI. 

and  the  more  steadfast  his  mind  remains.  Then  he  be- 
comes a  Yogkrudha,  one  who  has  attained  to  Yoga.  Ac- 
cordingly it  is  said  in  the  Mahabharata : 

"  For  a  Brahma»a  there  is  no  wealth  equal  to  this, 
viz.,  (knowledge  of)  oneness  and  homogeneity  (of 
Brahman  in  all  creatures),  truthfulness,  character, 
steadiness,  harmlessness,  straightforwardness,  and  re- 
nunciation of  the  several  actions." — (Santiparva,  175-38). 


Who  is  a  Yogin  ? 

When  is  a  man  said  to  be  a  Yogariir^ha,  to  have  attained 
to  Yoga  ? — The  answer  follows  : 

4.  When  a  man,  renouncing  all  thoughts,  is 
not  attached  to  sense-objects  and  actions,  then  he 
is  said  to  have  attained  to  Yoga. 

When  a  Yogin,  keeping  the  mind  steadfast,  feels  no  at- 
tachment for  the  objects  of  the  senses  such  as  sound,  nor 
thinks  that  he  has  to  do  any  action, — whether  nitya  (obli- 
gatory) or  vaimittika  (obligatory  and  incidental)  or  hdmya 
(done  with  a  motive)  or  pratishiddha  (forbidden  by  law), — 
regarding  it  as  of  no  use  to  him;  and  when  he  has  learned 
to  habitually  renounce  all  thoughts  which  give  rise  to  desires 
for  objects  of  this  world  and  of  the  next,  then  he  is  said  to 
have  become  a  Yogaruiha,  to  be  one  who  has  attained  to 
Yoga. — The  words  "  renouncing  all  thoughts"  imply  that 
all  desires  as  well  as  all  actions  should  be  renounced.  For, 
all  desires  spring  from  thoughts,  as  the  smnti  says  : 

"  Verily  desire  springs  from  thought  (sawkalpa),  and 
of  thought  yaj/ias  are  born."— (Maz/w  ii.  2). 

3 — 5]  nilVANA-YOGA.  I7I 

"  O  Dssire,  I  know  where  tliy  root  lies.  Thou  art 
born  of  thouj^^ht.  I  sIkiU  not  think  of  thee,  and  thou 
shalt  cease  to  exist  as  well  as  thy  root," — (Mahabha- 
rata,  5antiparva,  177-25). 

On  the  abandonment  of  all  desires,  the  abandonment  of 
all  actions  necessarily  follows,  as  passages  in  the  sruti  like 
the  following  show : 

'•  Whatever  forms  the  object  of  desire,  that  he  wills; 
and  whatever  he  wills,  that  he  acts."— (Bri.  Up.  4-4-5). 

Reasoning  also  leads  to  the  same  conclusion.  For,  on 
surrendering  all  thoughts,  one  cannot  move  at  all.  Where- 
fore, by  saying  that  the  aspirant  should  renounce  all 
thoughts,  the  Lord  implies  that  he  should  abandon  all  de- 
sires and  all  actions  as  well.y 

When  a  man  has  attained  to  Yoga,  then  the  self  is  raised 
by  the  self  from  out  of  the  numerous  evils  of  sa/wsara. 

5.  Let  a  man  raise  himself  by  himself,  let  him 
not  lower  himself;  for,  he  alone  is  the  friend  of 
himself,  he  alone  is  the  enemy  of  himself. 

Let  a  man  lift  up  himself  who  is  drowned  in  the  ocean  of 
sawsara,  /.  ^.,  let  him  so  train  himself  as  to  become  a 
Yogaru^ha,  let  him  practise  and  attain  to  Yoga.  Let  him  not 
lower  himself;  for,  he  alone  is  the  friend  of  himself.  There 
is  indeed  no  other  friend  that  can  lead  to  liberation  from 
sa;«sara ;  nay,  the  so-called  friend  is  only  inimical  to  him  who 
seeks  liberation,  as  the  former  forms  an  object  of  affection, 
which  is  the  cause  of  bondage.  Hence  the  emphasis  '  he 
alone  is  the  friend  of  himself.'  And  he  alone  is  the  enemy 
of  himself.     The  other  enemy  who  is  outside  is  made  an 

^72  THE.  BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.    VI. 

enemy,  only  by  himself.     Hence   the  emphasis  '  he  alone 
is  the  enemy  of  himself.' 

It  has  been  said  that  ."he  alone  is  the  friend  of  himself,  he 
alone  is  the  enemy  of  himself."  Now  it  may  be  asked,  what 
sort  of  a  nian  is  the  friend  of  himself  and  wliat  sort  of  a 
man  is  the.ehemy  of  himself? — The  answer  follows  : 

6.  To  him  who  has  conquered  himself  by  him- 
self, his  own  self  is  the  friend  of  himself,  but,  to  him 
who  has  not  (conquered)  himself,  his  own  self  stands 
in  the  place  of  an  enemy  like  the  (external)    foe. 

His  self  is  the  friend  of  himself  who  is  self-controlled, 
who  has  brought  under  control  the  aggregate  of  the  body 
and  the  senses.  But  in  the  case  of  a  man  who  is  not  self- 
controlled,  his  own  self  does  injury  to  himself,  just  as  any 
external  foe  may  do  injur}'  to  him. 

7.  The  self-controlled  and  serene  man's  Supr- 
eme Self  is  steadfast  in  cold  and  heat,  in  pleasure 
and  pain,  as  also  in  honour  and  disgrace. 

When  a  man  has  subdued  the  aggregate  of  the  body  and 
the  senses,  when  his  mind*(anta/«-kara»a)  is  tranquil,  when 
he  has  renounced  all  actions,  then  the  Supreme  Self  actually 
becomes  his  own  Self. 

8.  The  Yogin  whose  self  is  satisfied  with  know- 
ledge" and  wisdom,  who  remains  unshaken,  who 
has  conquered  the  senses,  he  is  said  to  be  a  saint, — 
for  whom  a  lump  of  earth,  a  stone  and  gold  are 

When  the  Yogin  is  satisfied  with  knowledge  (j»ana)  of 
things  as  taught  in  the  scriptures,  and  with  wisdom  (Yij??ana), 


5 — lo]  dhyAna-yoga.  173 


i.e.,  with  the  realisation  (in  his  own  experience)  of  the  things 
so  taught,... then  he  is  said  to  be  saint  (yukta),  he  is  said 
to  have  attained  samadhi  or  steadfastness  of  mind. 


9.  He  is  esteemed,  who  is  of  the  same  mind  to 
the  good-hearted,  friends,  foes,  the  indifferent,  the 
neutral,  the  hateful,  relatives,  the  righteous,  and 
the  unrighteous. 

He  is  esteemed:  HeJ_s_the  best  among  the  Yogarurfhas, 
among  those  who  have  attained  to  Yoga.  [There  is  also 
another  reading  which  means  'he  is  liberated.'"  Who  is  of 
the  same  mind :  who  thinks  not  of  a  man  as  to  what  he  is  or 
what  he  does.  A  '  good-hearted '  man  does  good  to  another 
without  expecting  any  service  in  return  :  an  '  indifferent ' 
is  one  who  is  partial  to  neither  of  two  contending  sides  ;  a 
'  ncittraV  man  is  one  who  means  well  by  both  the  contending 
sides.  The  righteous  are  those  who  follow  the  Sastras,  and 
the  unrighteous  are  those  who  resort  to  forbidden   acts. 

Directions  for  the  practice  of  Yoga. 

Wherefore,  to  attain  the  highest  results, 

10.  Let  the  Y'ogin  try  constantly  to  keep  the 
mind  steady,  remaining  in  seclusion,  alone,  with 
the  mind  and  body  controlled,  free  from  desire,  and 
having  no  possessions. 

Yogin  :  he  who  meditates.  In  seclusion  ;  in  a  mountain- 
cave,  or  the  like.  The  words  'in  seclusion '  and  'alone' 
evidently  show  that  he  should  resort  to  renunciation  (sa?/;- 
nyasa).  Not  only  should  he  renounce  the  world  when  he 
practises  Yoga,  but  he'should  also  abandon  all  possessions. 

174  '^^^    BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.    VI. 

Now,  in  the  sequel,  the  Lord  proceeds  to  prescribe  for 
him  who  practises  Yoga  particular  modes  of  sitting,  eating, 
recreation  and  the  like  as  aids  to  Yoga,  as  also  to  define  the 
characteristic  marks  of  the  man  who  has  attained  Yoga,  and 
to  describe  the  effects  of  Yoga  and  other  particulars  in 
connection  with  it.  First  of  all.  He  prescribes  a  particular 
mode  of  sitting  as  follows  : 

11.  Having  in  a  cleanly  spot  established  a  firm 
seat,  neither  too  high  nor  too  low,  with  cloth, 
skin,  and  kusa  grass  thereon  ; 

ChanJy :  either  naturally  so,  or  made  so  by  artificial 
improvements.  Cloth,  &c.,  should  be  spread  on  the  seat  in 
the  reverse  order  of  their  enumeration  here. 

What  should  be  done  after  establishing  the  seat  ?  , 

12.  Making  the  mind  one-pointed,  with  the 
actions  of  the  mind  and  the  senses  controlled,  let 
him,  seated  there  on  the  seat,  practise  Yoga  for 
the  purification  of  the  self. 

He  should  withdraw  the  mind  from  all  sense-objects 
before  concentrating  it.  The  self:  the  anta/j-kara.'/a,  the 
inner  sense,  the  mind. 

The  external  seat  has  been  described.  Now,  what  should 
be  the  posture  of  the  body  ? — Listen  : 

13.  Holding  erect  and  still  the  body,  head, 
and  neck,  firm,  gazing  on  the  tip  of  his  nose,  with- 
out looking  around ; 

An  erect  body  may  be  in  motion  ;  hence  the  qualification 

*  still.'     He  is  to  gaze  as  it  were  on  the  tip  of  his  nose Here 

we  have  to  understand  the  words  '  as'it  were'  ;  for,  the  Lord 

11 — I^.]  DHYANA-YOGA.  1 75 

means  to  prescribe,  not  the  very  act  of  '  gazing  on  the  tip  of 
his  nose',  but  the  fixing  of  the  eye-sight  within  (by  with- 
drawing it  from  external  objects)  ;  and  this,  of  course,  de- 
pends on  the  steadiness  of  mind,  /if,  on  the  other  hand,  the 
very  act  of  'gazing  on  the  tip  of  his  nose'  were  meant  here, 
then  the  mind  would  be  fixed  only  there,  not  on  the  Self. 
As  a  matter  of  fact,  the  Yogin  is  to  concentrate  his  mind  on 
the  Self,  as  will  be  taught  in  vi.  25,  '  Making  the  mind 
dwell  in  the  Self.'  Wherefore  the  words  '  as  it  were  '  being 
understood,  '  gazing  'means  here  '  the  fixing  of  the  eye-sight 
within.'  / 


14.  Serene-minded,  fearless,  firm  in  the  vow  of 
godly  life,  having  restrained  the  mind,  thinking  on 
Me,  and  balanced,  let  him  sit,  looking  up  to  Me  as 
the  Supreme. 

The  vow  of  a  godly  life  (Brahmachari-vrata)  consists  in 
doing  service  to  the  Guru,  in  eating  of  the  food  obtained 
by  begging,  &c.  He  should  strictly  observe  the  vows  of 
godly  life.  He  should  also  restrain  the  mind,  i.e.,  repress  its 
modifications.  He  should  ever  think  of  Me,  the  Paramesvara, 
the  Supreme  Lord.  He  should  also  regard  Me  as  the 
Supreme.  A  lover  may  always  think  of  a  w^oman,  but  he 
never  regards  her  as  supreme.  He  regards  either  his  sovere- 
ign, or  Mahadeva  (the  Great  God),  as  the  case  may  be,  as 
the  Supreme.  The  Yogin,  on  the  other  hand,  ever  thinks 
of  Me,  and  also  regards  Me  as  the  Supreme  Being. 

Now  the  fruit  of  Yoga  is  described  as  follows  : 

15.  Thus  always  keeping  the  mind  balanced, 
the  Yogin,  with  the  mind  controlled,  attains  to  the 

176  THE  BHAGAVAD-GiTA.  [DiS.  VI. 

Peace  abiding  in  Me,  which  cuhninates  in  Nirva;ia 


Thus  :  in  the  manner  prescribed  above. 

Here  follow  regulations  as  regards  a  Yogin's  food,  &c  : 

16.  Yoga  is  not  possible  for  him  who  eats  too 
much,  nor  for  him  who  does  not  eat  at  all,  nor  for 
him  who  is  addicted  to  too  much  sleep,  nor  for 
him  who  is  (ever)  wakeful,  O  Arjuna. 

Eats  too  much  :  eats  more  food  than  what  is  suited  to  him. 
The  sruti   says : 

"  Whatever  food  is  suited  to  oneself,  that  protects  ;  it 
injures  not.  A  greater  quantity  injures  and  a  smaller 
quantity  protects  not." — (5atapatha-BrahmaHa). 

The  Yo-jin  should  therefore  eat  neither  more  nor  less  than 
what  is  suitable  for  him.  Or  it  may  mean  this  :  Yoga  is 
not  possible  for  him  who  eats  more  than  the  quantity  pres- 
cribed for  a  Yogin  in  the  Yogasastra.  The  quantity  of  food 
is  thus  prescribed  : 

"Half  (the  stomach)  for  food  and  condiments,  the  third 
((quarter)  for  water,  and  the  fourth  should  be  reserved 
for  free  motion  of  air." 

How  then  can  Yoga  be  achieved  ? — The  answer  follows  : 

17.  To  him  whose  food  and  recreation  are 
moderate,  whose  exertion  in  actions  is  moderate, 
whose  sleep  and  waking  are  moderate,  to  him 
accrues  Yoga  which  is  destructive  of  pain. 

To  him  who  resorts  to  food  and  recreation  (such  as 
walking)  within  prescribed  limits,  and  who  sleeps  and  who 

15 — 20]  DHYANA-YOGA.  1 77 

wakes  up  at   the   prescribed   hours,  to  him  accrues   Yoga 
which  is  destructive  of  the  misery  of  sa;//sara. 


When  does  he  become  a  saint  (Yukta)  ? — The  answer 
follows : 

18.  When  the  well-restrained  thought  is 
established  in  the  Self  only,  without  longing  for  any 
of  the  objects  of  desire,  then  he  is  said  to  be  a  Saint. 

Well-restrained:  which  attained  to  one-pointedness  or  con- 
centration. In  the  Self  only  :  having  abandoned  all  thoughts 
of  external  objects,  the  thinking  principle  (chitta)  remains 
steadily  in  the  Self.     Objects  of  desire  :  seen  or  unseen. 

The  simile  of  such  a  Yogin's  steadfast  mind  is  described 
below : 

ig.  'As  a  lamp  in  a  sheltered  spot  does  not 
flicker,' — this  has  been  thought  as  the  simile  of  a 
Yogin  of  subdued  thought,  practising  Yoga  in  the 

This  simile  has  been  thought  out  by  those  versed  in  Yoga, 
by  those  who  know  the  ways  of  the  thinking  principle. 

Having  thus,  by  virtue  of  the  practice  of  Yoga,  become 
one- pointed  (fit  for  concentration),  like  a  lamp  sheltered 
from  the  wind, 

20.  When  thought  is  quiescent,  restrained  by 
the  practice  of  Yoga  ;  when,  seeing  the  Self  by  the 
self,  he  is  satisfied  in  his  own  Self; 

When  the  mind  is  restrained  from  all  quarters  by  practice 
of  Yoga,  the  Yogin  sees  the  Self— the  Supreme  Intelligence 



(chaitanya)    and   the    All-resplendent    Light — by   self  (the 
anta/;kara/za,  the  inner  sense),  by  the  mind  which  has  been 
purified  by  samadhi,  and  attains   satisfaction  in  the  Self. 

21.  When  he  knows  that  Infinite  Joy  which, 
transcending  the  senses,  can  be  grasped  by  reason  ; 
when,  steady  (in  the  Self),  he  moves  never  from 
the  Reality  ; 

He :  the  wise  man.  That  joy  can  be  grasped  by  reason 
(buddhi),  independently  of  the  senses.  It  lies  beyond  the 
ken  of  the  senses  ;  it  is  not  produced  by  sense-objects. 

And  : 

22.  When,  having  obtained  it,  he  thinks  no 
other  acquisition  superior  to  it  •  when,  therein  esta- 
blished, he  is  not  moved  even  by  a  great  pain; 

It  :  the  gain  of  the  Self.  Therein  :  in  the  real  Self.  Pain  : 
such  as  may  be  caused  by  a  sword-cut,  etc. 

This  Yo^a, — this  peculiar  state  of  the  Self  which  has  been 
described  in  so  many  of  its  attributes  in  the  verses  begin- 
ning with  vi.  20  : 

23.  This  severance  from  union  with  pain,  be 
it  known,  is  called  union  (Yoga).  That  Yoga  must 
be  practised  with  determination  and  with  unde- 
pressed heart. 

Sevctance  from  union  with  pain  is  called  Yoga  (which  means 
union)  by  a  sort  of  irony.  Having  thus  concluded  speaking 
of  the  effect  of  Yoga,  the  Lord  again  refers  to  the  necessity  of 
it,  with  a  view  to  show  that  determination  and  non-depression 
(self-reliance)  are  necessary  means  to  Yoga.     That  Yoga : 

20 — 26.]  DHYANA-YOGA.  1 79 

the  Yoga  which  can  produce  the  resuhs  described  above. 
Further  directions  concerning  the  practice  of  Yoga. 


24.  Abandoniiif^  without  reserve  all  fancy-born 
desires,  well-restraining  all  the  senses  from  all 
quarters  by  the  mind  ; 

By  the  mind  :  endued  with  discrimination. 

25.  Little  by  little  let  him  withdraw,  by  reason 
( buddhi )  held  in  firmness ;  keeping  the  mind 
established  in  the  Self,  let  him  not  think  of  any- 

He  should  make  the  mind  constantly  abide  in  the  Self, 
bearing  in  mind  that  the  Self  is  all  and  that  nothing  else 
exists.     This  ■'■  is  the  highest  form  of  Yoga. 

Now,  as  to  the  Yogin  who  thus  strives  to  make  the  mind 
abide  in  the  Self, 

26.  By  whatever  cause  the  wavering  and  un- 
steady mind  wanders  away,  from  that  let  him 
restrain  it  and  bring  it  back  direct  under  the  control 
of  the  Self. 

Sound  and  other  objects  are  the  causes  which  make  the  , 
mind  wander  away.  It  is  a  natural  weakness  of  the  mind 
to  be  thus  led  away  by  sense-objects.  By  convincing  one- 
self of  the  illusoriness  of  sense-objects  through  a-n  investiga- 
tion into  their  real  nature,  and  by  cultivating  indifference 
to  worldly  objects,  the  mind  can  be  restrained  from  sense- 
objects  and  brought  back  to  the  Self  wherein  to  abide 
firmly.     In   virtue   of  this  practice  of  Yoga,  the    Yogin's 

*  The  steadiness  of  mind.— (A.) 

l8o  THE    BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.    VI. 

j    mind  attains  peace  in  the  Self. 

The  effect  of  Dhyana=Yoga. 

27.  Supreme  Bliss  verily  comes  to  this  Yogin, 
whose  mind  is  quite  tranquil,  whose  passion  is 
quieted,  who  has  become  Brahman,  who  is  ble- 

Whose  passion,  &c.:  in  whom  all  passion,  including  attach- 
ment and  other  causes  of  pain,  has  disappeared  ;  who  has 
become  a  Jivan-nmhta  (a  man  whose  soul  is  liberated  while 
still  alive),  convinced  that  all  is  Brahman  ;  who  has  no 
bbmish  whatsoever,  who  is  not  affected  by  dharma  and 

28.  Thus  always  keeping  the  self  steadfast, 
the  Yogin,  freed  from  sins,  attains  with  ease  to 
the  infinite  bliss  of  contact  with  the  (  Supreme ) 

Always  :  unimpeded  by  any  of  the  obstacles  to  Yoga. 

Now  will  be  described  the  effect  of  Yoga,  the  perception 
of  oneness  with  Brahman,  which  leads  to  the  cessation  of 
all  sawsara : 

29.  The  Self  abiding  in  all  beings,  and  all  be- 
ings (abiding)  in  the  Self,  sees  he  whose  self  has 
been  made  steadfast  by  Yoga,  who  everywhere 
sees  the  same. 

He  sees  all  beings — from  Brahma,  the  Creator,  down  to  a 
clump  of  grass — as  one  with  the  Self ;  and  in  all  the  differ- 
ent beings — from  Brahma,  the  Creator,  down  to  inanimate 
objects — he  sees  the  same  ;  i.  e.,  he  sees  that  the  Self  and 
Brahman  (the  Absolute)  are  one. 

26 — 32']  DHYANA-YOGA.  l8l 

Now  will  be  described  the  efiect  of  this  perception  of  the 
unity  of  the  Self: 

30.  He  who  sees  Me  everywhere  and  sees  every- 
thing in  Me,  to  him  I  vanish  not,  nor  to  Mc  does 
he  vanish. 

He  who  sees  Me,  Vasudeva,  the  Self  of  all,  in  all  beings, 
and  who  sees  Brahma,  the  Creator,  and  all  other  beings, 
in  Me,  the  Self  of  all ; — when  he  has  thus  seen  the  unity  of 
the  Self,  I — who  am  the  Isvara — never  leave  his  presence, 
nor  does  that  wise  man  leave  My  presence  ;  for  his  Self  and 
Mine  are  one,  and  one's  own  Self  cannot  but  be  manifest  to 

Now,  referring  to  the  knowledge  imparted  in  the  preceding 
verse — namely  that  '  I  Myself,  the  Self  of  all,  am  the  seer 
of  the  unity  of  Self, — the  Lord  will  speak  of  moksha  as  the 
effect  of  that  knowledge  : 

31.  Whoso,  intent  on  unity,  worships  Me  who 
abide  in  all  beings,  that  Yogin  dwells  in  Me,  what- 
ever his  mode  of  life. 

This  man  of  right  knowledge  dwells  in  Me,  in  the 
supreme  state,  in  the  state  of  Vishwu  ;  he  is  ever  liberated  ; 
nothing  obstructs  his  path  to  moksha. 


32.  Whoso,  by  comparison  with  himself,  sees 
the  same  everywhere,  O  Arjuna,  be  it  pleasure  or 
pain,  he  is  deemed  the  highest  Yogin. 

He  sees  that  whatever  is  pleasant  to  himself  is  pleasant 
to  all  creatures,  and  that  whatever  is  painful  to  himself  is 
painful  to  all  beings.     Thus  seeing  that  what  is  pleasure  or 

1 82  THE    BHAGAVAD-GtTA.  [DiS.  VI 

pain  to  himself  is  alike  pleasure   or  pain  to  all  beings,  he 

causes  pain  to  no  being  ;  he  is  harmless.  Doing  no  harm, 

and   devoted   to   right    knowledge,  he  is  regarded  as  the 
highest  among  all  Yogins. 

Practice  and  Indifference  are  the  surest  means 

to  Yoga. 

Seeing  that  the  Yoga  above  described,  the  Yoga  of  right 
knowledge,  is  very  difficult  of  attainment,  Arjuna  wished 
to  know  the  surest  means  of  attaining  it,  and  said  : 

Arjuna  said  : 

33.  This  Yoga  in  equanimity,  taught  by  Thee, 
O  Destroyer  of  Madhu, — I  see  not  its  steady  con- 
tinuance, because  of  the  restlessness  (of  the  mind). 

This  is  a  well-known  fact : 

34.  The  mind  verily,  is,  O  Krishna,  restless, 
turbulent,  strong  and  obstinate.  Thereof  the 
restraint  I  deem  quite  as  difficult  as  that  of  the 

'  Knsh;/a '  is  derived  from  '  k;'ish  '  to  scrape.  Knsh;?a 
is  so  called  because  He  scrapes  or  draws  away  all  sins 
and  other  causes  of  evil  from  His  devotees. — Not  only  is 
the  mind  restless,  but  also  turbulent :  it  agitates  the  body 
and  the  senses  and  makes  them  subject  to  foreign  influences. 
It  is  not  possible  to  restrain  it  by  any  means,  as  it  is  quite 
irrepressible.  It  is  as  impossible  to  cut  it  as  to  cut  the 
tantunaga,  the  Varu«a-pa5a,  a  kind  of  shark.  To  restrain 
the  mind  of  such  a  nature  is  even  more  difficult  than  to 
restrain  the  wind. 

The  Lord  says  : — So  it  is,  as  you  say  : 

32 — 37]  DHYANA-YOGA.  183 

The   Blessed  Lord  said  : 

35.  Doubtless,  O  mighty-armed,  the  mind  is 
hard  to  restrain  and  restless  ;  but  by  practice,  O 
son  of  Kunti,  and  by  indifference  it  may  be 

*  Practice  '  consists  in  constantly  repeating  the  same  idea 
or  thought  regarding  some  one  object  of  thought.  '  Indiffer- 
ence '  means  freedom  from  desire  for  any  pleasures  seen  or 
unseen,  attained  through  a  constant  perception  of  evil  in 
them.  It  is  by  practice  and  indifference  that  vikshcpa, 
the  passage  of  thought  in  the  direction  of  external  objects, 
can  be  restrained. —  It  is  thus  that  the  mind  is  restrained. 

But  as  regards  him  who  is  not  self-controlled : 

36.  Yoga,  methinks,  is  hard  to  attain  for  a 
man  of  uncontrolled  self;  but  b}'  him  who  (often) 
strives,  self-controlled,  it  can  be  acquired  by 
(proper)  means. 

Uncontrolled  self:  the  anta/i-kara?/a  not  controlled  by 
means  of  constant  practice  and  by  indifference  to  worldly 
gain.     Self-controlled  :  who  has  subdued  the  mind. 

Failures  in  Yoga  and  the  after=career. 

On  engaging  in  the  practice  of  Yoga,  all  works  which  are 
the  means  of  attaining  success  in  this  world  and  in  the 
other  wovld  have  been  renounced,  while  the  right  know- 
ledge, which  is  the  result  of  perfection  in  Yoga  and  which 
is  the  means  to  moksha,  has  not  yet  been  attained  ;  and 
the  Yogin's  mind  strays  away  from  the  path  of  Yoga  at  the 
time  of  death.  Arjuna  thought  that  such  a  man  would  meet 
destruction  and  therefore  asked  : 

184  THE  BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.    VI. 

Arjuna  said  : 
^•j.     He  who  strives  not,  but  who  is  possessed  of 
faith,  whose   mind   wanders   away  from  Yoga, — 
having  failed  to  attain    perfection  in  Yoga,  what 
end,  O  Krishna,  does  he  meet  ? 

He  has  faith  in  the  efficacy  of  Yoga  but  does  not  strive 
in  the  path  of  Yoga ;  and  during  the  last  moments  of  life 
his  mind  wanders  away  from  Yoga,  with  memory  lost. 
Having  failed  to  attain  the  fruition  of  Yoga — namely,  right 
knowledge — what  end  does  such  a  man  meet  ? 

38.  Having  failed  in  both,  does  he  not  perish 
like  a  riven  cloud,  supportless,  O  mighty-armed, 
and  perplexed  in  the  path  to  Brahman  ? 

Both :  the  path  of  Karma  and  the  path  of  Yoga.  The 
path  to  Brahman :  the  path  by  which  Brahman  can  be 

39.  This  doubt  of  mine,  O  Krishna,  do  Thou 
dispel  completely ;  for  none  other  than  Thyself 
can  possibly  destroy  this  doubt. 

None  other  :  be  he  a  R'lshi  or  a  Deva.  Thou  alone  canst 
destroy  this  doubt. 

The  Blessed  Lord  said  : 

40.  O  Partha,  neither  in  this  world  nor  in  the 
next  is  there  destruction  for  him  ;  none,  verily, 
who  does  good.   My  son,  ever  comes  to  grief. 

He  who  has  failed  in  Yoga  will  not  be  subject  to  a  lower 

birth  than  the  present  one  either  here  or  hereafter.    My  son  : 

[Sk.  '  tata  '  is  translated  into  '  son  'j .     '  Tata '    in    Sanskrit 

means  '  father '  because  the  father  propagates  (Sk,  root  'tan') 

37 — 44']  DIIYANA-YOGA.  1 85 

himself  in  the  form  of  his  son.    Since  thus  the  father  himself 
is  the  son,  the  son  also  is  called  tata.  Even  a  disciple^  though 
not  a  son,  is  addressed  as  son  because  he  is  like  a  son. 
What,  then,  will  happen  to  him  ? 

40.  Having  attained  to  the  worlds  of  the  right- 
eous, and  having  dwelt  there  for  eternal  years,  he 
who  failed  in  Yoga  is  reborn  in  a  house  of  the  pure 
and  wealthy. 

This  is  said,  as  the  context  shows,  of  a  sawnyasin  engaged 
in  the  path  of  (Dhyana-)  Yoga.  The  righteous  :  those  who 
worship  by  the  asva-medha  or  horse-sacrifice,  &c.  Having 
completely  enjoyed  the  pleasure  (he  is  entitled  to)  in  such 
a  world,  he  is  reborn  in  a  house  of  the  pure  and  wealthy. 
The  pun  :  acting  according  to  the  prescribed  rules. 

42.  Else,  he  is  born  in  a  family  of  wise  Yogins 
only.  This,  verily,  a  birth  like  this,  is  very  hard 
to  obtain  in  this  world. 

Or  else  he  is  born  in  quite  a  different  family,  that  of  poor 
wise  Yogins.  A  birth  in  a  family  of  this  sort,  in  a  family 
of  poor  Yogins,  is  more  difficult  to  obtain  than  the  one 
mentioned  above. 

And  for  the  following  reason  : 

43.  There^he  gains  touch  with  the  knowledge 
that  was  acquired  in  the  former  body  and  strives 
more  than  before  for  perfection,  O  son  of  the 

Motx  than  before :  with  greater  vigour  than  that  with 
which  he  strove  in  the  former  birth. 

44.  By  that  very  former  practice  is  he  borne  on, 


l86  THE  BHAGAVAD-GiTA.  [DiS.  VI. 

though  unwilling.     Even  he  who  merely  wishes  to 
know  of  Yoga  rises  superior  to  the  Word-Brahman. 

The  man  who  failed  in  Yoga  is  borne  on  towards  perfec- 
tion by  the  force  of  the  practice  of  the  former  birth.  If  he 
had  done  no  unrighteous  deed  (a-dharma)  which  could  over- 
power the  tendency  caused  by  the  practice  of  Yoga,  then, 
certainly,  the  tendency  of  Yoga  prevails.  If  a-dharma  be 
stronger,  then,  even  the  tendency  born  of  Yoga  is  certainly 
overpowered  by  a-dharma.  But  on  the  exhaustion  of 
adharma  t]ie_tendency  caused  by  Yoga  begins  to  produce  its 
effects  :  that  is  to  say,  it  is  not  liable  to  destruction  though 
it  may  have  long  been  in  absyance.  Thus  he — i.  c,  as  the 
context  shows,  a  sawnyasin  who  has  failed  in  Yoga — -who 
works  in  the  path  of  Yoga,  only  wishing  to  know  its  nature, 
even  he  will  free  himself  from  tlie  Word-Brahman  (5abda- 
Brahman),  from  the  effects  of  the  observance  of  Vedic  Kar- 
ma :  what  need  is  there  to  say  that  he  who  knows  Yoga  and 
practises  it  in  steady  devotion  will  be  free  from  its  effects  ? 

The  best  of  the  Yogins. 

And  why  is  the  life  of  a  Yogin  preferable  ? 

45.  Veril}-,  a  Yogin  who  strives  with  assiduity, 
purified  from  sins  and  perfected  in  the  course  of 
many  births,  then  reaches  the  Supreme  Goal. 

In  the  course  of  many  births  he  acquires  facility  in  Yoga 
little  by  little,  and  by  the  aggregate  facility  thus  acquired 
in  many  births  he  is  perfected.  Then  he  obtains  right 
knowledge  and  reaches  the  Supreme  (loal. 


46.  A   Yogin    is    deemed    superior   to    men    of 
austerity,  and  superior  to  even  men  of  knowledge ; 

44 — 47*]  DIIVANA-YOGA.  iSj 

he  is  also   superior  to  men  of  action  ;  therefore  be 
thou  a  Yoi^in,  O  Arjuna, 

Knowledge:  of  tlie.  teachings  of  the  sastra.  Action:  such 
as  Agnihotra,  worship  of  the  sacred  fire. 

47.  Of  all  Yogins,  whoso,  full  of  faith,  worships 
Me  with  his  inner  self  abiding  in  Me,  he  is  deemed 
by  Me  as  most  devout. 


Yogins :  those  who  meditate  upon  Rudra,  Aditya,  etc. 
The  inner  self  abiding  in  Me:  The  anta/z-kara-va  kept  stead- 
fast in  Me,  \^isudeva. 



Realisation  of  the  Lord  by  meditation. 

Having  given  in  vi.  47  an  occasion  for  further  interroga- 
tion, and  wishing  to  teach,  without  being  asked,  that  "  so 
and  so  is  My  Real  Being,  and  such  and  such  is  the  one 
whose  inner  self  abides  in  Me,"    the  Lord  said  : 

The  Blessed  Lord  said  : 

1.  With  the  mind  intent  on  Me,  O  Partha, 
practising  Yoga,  and  finding  refuge  in  Me,  how 
in  full  without  doubt  thou  shalt  know  Me,  that  do 
thou  hear. 

The  Yogin's  mind  is  intent  on  Me,  the  Supreme  Lord, 
possessed  of  such  attributes  as  will  be  mentioned  below.  He 
practises  Yoga  or  steadfastness  of  mind  and  finds  refuge  in 
Me  alone,  the  Supreme  Lord.  He  who  seeks  a  human 
end  resorts  to  some  action  such  as  Agnihotra,  or  to  an 
austerity,  or  to  a  gift  or  the  like,  as  a  means  of  attaining  that 
end.  The  Yogin,  on  the  other  hand,  resorts  to  Me  alone, 
abandoning  all  other  means  with  his  thought  intent  on  Me 
alone.  Now,  listen  to  what  1  am  going  to  say  as  to  how 
you  also,  thus  acting,  will,  without  doubt,  know  Me  in  full, 
possessed  of  infinite  greatness,  strength,  power,  grace  and 
other  attributes ;  you  will  know  Me  undoubtingly,  that 
"  The  Lord  is  so  and  so  only." 

2.  I    shall    fully   teach    thee     this     knowledge 
combined   with  experience,  which  being  known,  . 
nothing  more  besides  here  remains  to  be  known. 

I — 4.]  VIJNANA-YOGA.  l8g 

And  this  knowledji^e  concerning  Me,  as  borne  out  by  My 
own  experience,  I  shall  relate  to  thee  in  full. — In  the  latter 
portion  of  the  verse  the  Lord  extols  the  knowledge  which  is 
going  to  be  taught,  with  a  view  to  prepare  the  hearer  to 
follow  it. — Nothing  more  ;  no  other  means  to  a  human  end. 
He  who  knows  Me  in  truth  becomes  omniscient.  Thus  the 
knowledge  is  productive  of  great  results  and  is  therefore 
very  hard  to  obtain. 

How  ? — Listen  : 

3.  Among  thousands  of  men,  one  perchance 
strives  for  perfection ;  even  among  those  who  strive 
and  are  perfect,  only  one  perchance  knows  me  in 

Perfect :  they  are  indeed  perfect  who  strive  for  moksha. 

Evolution  of  the  Universe  out  of  Divine  Prakriti. 

Having  prepared  the  hearer  for  the  teaching  by  inducing 
in  him  a  taste  for  it,  the  Lord  proceeds  thus  : 

4.  Earth,  water,  fire,  air,  ether,  thought  (Manas) 
and  reason  (Buddhi),  egoism  (Ahamkara) — thus  is 
My  Prakriti  divided  eightfold. 

Earth  stands  for  the  subtile  rudimental  element  or  Tan- 
matra,  the  Prithivi-tanmatra  or  the  subtile  rudimental 
element  of  earth  ;  and  so  water,  fire,  air  and  ether  stand  for 
the  Tanmatras  of  water,  etc.  Thought  (Manas)  stands  for 
its  c?LUse  Ahamkara  or  egoism  ;  reason  (Buddhi)  for  the  Mahat 
principle,  which  is  the  cause  of  Aha7«kara  ;  and  Aha;«kara 
for  the  Avyakta,  the  Unmanifested,  conjoined  with  Avidya  or 
nescience.  Just  as  food  which  is  mixed  with  poison  is  itself 
called  poison,  so  the  Avyakta,  the  First  Cause,  conjoined 


with  the  vasana,  or  latent  unconscious  impression,  of 
Aha7//kara,  is  itself  called  here  Ahawkara  inasmuch  as  Ego- 
ism is  the  impelling  cause  of  all.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  we 
find,  from  our  ordinary  experience,  that  egoism  is  the  cause 
of  the  activity  of  every  being.  Thus  divided  eightfold  is  My 
Prakyiti,  the  Maya  belonging  to  the  Isvara. 

5.  This  is  the  inferior  (Prakriti)  ;  but  as  distinct 
from  this  know  thou  My  superior  Prakriti,  the  very 
life,  O  mighty-armed,  by  w^hich  this  universe  is 

This  Prak;'iti  is  inferior,  impure,  productive  of  evil,  itself 
constituting  the  bondage  of  sa^z/sara;  but  the  superior 
Prab'iti  is  pure :  it  is  My  very  Self,  the  Kshetraj/^a,  that  by 
which  life  is  sustained,  that  which  enters  within  the  whole 
universe  and  sustains  it. 

6.  Know  that  all  beings  have  their  birth  in 
these.  So,  I  am  the  source  and  dissolution  of  the 
whole  universe. 

These,  My  inferior  Nature  (Prakriti)  and  My  superior 
Nature  (Prakriti),  matter  (Kshetra)  and  spirit  (KshetraJ7/a), 
are  the  womb  of  all  creatures.  Because  my  Prakriti  is  the 
womb  of  all  beings,  I  am  the  origin  and  the  end  of  the  whole 
universe.  That  is  to  say,  through  this  twofold  Prakriti,  I, 
the  omniscient  Isvara,  am  the  cause  of  the  universe. 


7.  There  is  naught  else  higher  than  I,  O 
Dhana7?jaya  :  in  Me  all  this  is  woven  as  clusters 
of  gems  on  a  string. 

4 — 9']  VIJN  ANA-YOGA.  IQI 

There  is  no  other  cause  besides  Me,  the  Supreme  Lord  : 
I  alone  am  the  cause  of  the  universe.  Wherefore  all  beings 
as  Avell  as  the  whole  of  this  universe  are  woven  in  Me,  as  a 
cloth  in  the  warp,  or  clusters  of  beads  on  a  string. 

The  Divine  Principle  penetrating  the  Universe. 

What  are  Thy  attributes  showing  that  the  whole  of  this 
is  woven  in  Thee  ? — Listen  : 

8.  I  am  the  sapidity  in  water,  O  son  of  Kunti. 
I  am  the  light  in  the  moon  and  the  sun.  I  am  the 
syllabic  Oiii  in  all  the  Vedas,  sound  in  ether,  hu- 
manity in  men. 

The  essence  of  water  is  sapidity.  In  Me  who  am  that 
sapidity  waters  are  woven. — So  in  all  cases. — Just  as  I  am 
the  sapidity  in  waters,  so  am  I  the  light  in  the  moon  and 
the  sun  ;  I  am  the  Pra/^ava,  the  syllable  Om  in  all  the 
Vedas :  in  Me  who  am  that  Prawava  all  the  Vedas  are 
woven.  So  also,  I  am  humanity  in  men,  i.e.,  I  am  tliat  in 
a  person  which  makes  that  person  regarded  a  human  being. 
In  I\Ie  as  humanity  all  persons  are  woven.  Sound  is  the 
essence  of  iikasa  :  in  Me  as  sound  Tdcasa  is  woven. 

q.  And  I  am  the  agreeable  odour  in  the  earth 
and  the  brilliance  in  the  fire,  the  vitality  in  all  be- 
ings, and  I  am  the  austerity  in  ascetics. 

la  Me  as  odour  the  earth  is  woven, — -OdouY  by  itself  is 
agreeable  ;  the  disagreeableness  of  odour  in  the  earth  and  of 
the  like  being  due  to  the  combination  of  one  element  with 
some  other  element  or  elements  under  the  influence  of  the 
avidya  anda-dharma  of  individual  souls  in  the  world.     The 

Tg2  THE   BHAGAVAD-GiTA.  [DiS.   Vll« 

agreeableness  thus  spoken  of  with  reference  to  the  earth 
appHes  also  to  the  agreeableness  of  the  sapidity  in  waters, 
and  so  on. — 1  am  the  vitality  in  all  beings,  that  by  which 
all  beings  live.     In  Me  as  austerity  the  ascetics  are  woven. 

10.  Know  Me,  O  Partha,  as  the  eternal  seed 
of  all  beings  ;  I  am  the  intelligence  of  the  intelli- 
gent, the  bravery  of  the  brave. 

Seed :  the  cause  of  growth.  Intelligence  ;  the  discrimi- 
native power  of  the  anta/j-kara»a. 

11.  And  of  the  energetic  am  I  the  energy  de- 
void of  passion  and  attachment ;  and  in  (all)  beings 
I  am  the  desire  unopposed  to  dharma,  O  lord  of 
the  Bharatas. 

Passion  (Kama)  :  thirst  for  objects  not  present  to  the 
senses.  Attachment  (raga)  :  love  for  those  presented  to  the 
senses.  I  am  that  energy  which  is  necessary  for  the  bare 
sustenance  of  the  body,  certainly  not  that  which  causes 
thirst  and  attachment  ( for  sense-objects )  in  the  case  of 
worldly  mortals.  So  I  am  the  desire  not  opposed  to  the 
teaching  of  the  scriptures  :  I  am,  for  instance,  the  desire 
for  that  much  of  eating  and  drinking,  etc.,  which  is  necessary 
for  the  bare  sustenance  of  the  body. 


12.  And  whatever  beings  are  of  Sattva  or  of 
Rajas  or  of  Tamas,  know  them  to  proceed  from 
Me  :  still,  I  am  not  in  them,  they  are  in  me. 

Know  that  all  beings,  whether  formed  of  Sattva,  or  of 
Rajas,  or  of  Tamas,  and  which  come  into  existence  as  the 
result  of  the  respective  karma  of  living  beings,  proceed  from 

^9 — 4']  VIJNANA-YOGA.  I93 

Me.  Though  they  thus  proceed  from  Mc,  I  am  not  subject 
to  them  like  mortal  beings  (sa;«si'irins).  On  the  other  hand, 
they  are  subject  to  Me :  they  are   dependent  on  Me. 

Maya :  How  to  overcome  it. 

The  Lord  now  expresses  His  regret  that  the  world  does 
not  understand  Him,  who  is  thus  the  Supreme  Lord  ;  who 
by  nature  is  eternal,  pure,  intelligent  and  free  ;  who  is  the 
Self  of  all  beings,  devoid  of  all  attributes ;  by  knowing 
whom  they  might  burn  up  the  evil  which  is  the  seed  of 
sa/wsara. — What  is  this  ignorance  on  the  part  of  the  world 
due  to  ? — Listen. 

13.  Deluded  by  these  three  (sorts  of)  things 
composed  of  gunas,  all  this  world  knows  not  Me  as 
distinct  from  them  and  immutable. 

All  living  beings  are  deluded  by  such  things  as  love, 
hatred  and  attachment,  which  are  all  modifications  of  gu7?as. 
Immutahle :  devoid  of  such  changes  as  birth  and  the  like, 
which  pertain  to  all  things  in  the  world. 

How  then  can  one  surmount  this  Divine  Illusion  (Maya) 
of  Vish;ai  made  up  of  the  three  gu7?as  ? — Listen  : 

14.  Verily  this  Divine  Illusion  of  Mine,  made 
up  of  gu»as,  is  hard  to  surmount.  Whoever  seek 
Me  alone,  they  cross  over  this  Illusion. 

This  Illusion  (Maya),  formed  of  gu;/as,  is  inherent  in  Me, 
Vishnu,  the  Lord.  Such  being  the  case,  whoever  abandon 
all  formal  religion  (Dharma)  and  completely  devote  them- 
selves to  Me,  their  own  Self,  the  Lord  of  Illusion,  they 
cross  over  the  Illusion  which  deludes  all  living  beings:  they 
are  liberated  from  the  bondage  of  sawsara. 


194  '^^^  BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.    VII. 

If  those  who  resort  to  Thee  cross  over  the  Illusion,  why 
do  not  all  resort  to  Thee  only  ? — Listen  : 

15.  Not  Me  do  the  evil-doers  seek,  the  deluded, 
the  vilest  of  men,  deprived  of  wisdom  by  Illusion, 
following  the  ways  of  the  Demons. 

Me,  the  Supreme  Lord,  Naraya;/a.  The  tmys  of  the  Demons 
are  cruelty,  untruth,  and  the  like. 

Four  classes  of  devotees. 

But  as  to  the  best  of  men,  men  of  good  deeds  : 

16.  Four  kinds  of  virtuous  men  worship  Me, 
O  Arjuna, — the  distressed,  the  seeker  of  knowledge, 
the  seeker  of  wealth,  and  the  wise  man,  O  lord  of 
the  Bharatas. 

The  distyessed :  he  who  is  in  distress,  overpowered  by  a 
robber,  a  tiger,  illness  or  the  like.  Knowledge  :  of  the  real 
nature  of  the  Lord.  The  iiise  man  :  he  who  knows  the  real 
nature  of  Vish;m. 

17.  Of  them  the  wise  man,  ever  steadfast  and 
devoted  to  the  One,  excels;  for,  excessively  dear 
am  I  to  the  wise,  and  he  is  dear  to  Me. 

Of  the  four,  the  wise  man,  as  knowing  the  truth,  is  ever 
steadfast,  and  devoted  to  the  One,  finding  no  other  object  of 
worship.  Thus,  he  who  is  devoted  to  the  One  is  superior 
to  all  others.  Since  I  am  his  very  Self,  I  am  excessively 
dear  to  the  wise  man. — It  is  well-known  to  all  in  this  world 
that  the  Self  is  dear  to  every  one.  Therefore  Vasudeva,  as 
the  Self  of  the  wise  man,  is  dear  to  him. — And  the  wise  man 
is  My  very  Self  and  is  therefore  very  dear  to  Me. 

15 — 19]  VIJNANA-YOGA.  I95 

Then  the  three  others,  the  distressed  and  the  rest,  are  not 
dear  to  Viisudeva  ? — Not  so. — What  then  ? 

18.  Noble  indeed  arc  all  those  ;  but  the  wise 
man,  I  deem,  is  the  very  Self;  for,  steadfast  in 
mind,  he  resorts  to  Me  alone  as  the  unsurpassed 

These  are  all  noble  indeed ;  i.e.,  those  three  also  are  dear 
to  Me.     There  is  no  devotee  of  Mine  but  is  dear  to  Me, 
Vasudeva.     There   is,   however,   this  difference  :  the  wise 
man  is  excessively  dear  to  Me. — Why  so  ? — It  is  my   con- 
viction that  the  wise  man  is  the  very   Self,    not    different 
from  Me.  /The  wise  man  strives  to  reach  Me,    firm  in  the  j 
faith  that  he  himself  is  the  Lord  Vasudeva   and  is   no  other  j 
than  He.     He  seeks  Me  only,    the  Supreme  Brahman,    as  1 
the  highest  goal  to  be  reached. 

The  wise  man  is  again  extolled  : 

ig.  At  the  end  of  many  births,  the  man  of 
wisdom  comes  to  Me,  (realising)  that  Vasudeva  is 
the  all :  he  is  the  noble-souled  (Mahatman),  very 
hard  to  find. 

^At  the  end  of  many  births  occupied  in  spiritual  regenera-  j 
tion  as  preparatory  to  the  attainment  of  wisdom,  the  man  of 
mature  wisdom  resorts  to  Me,  Vasudeva,  the  innermost  Self 
(Pratyagatman). — How  ? — Realising  that  Vasudeva  is  the  i 
All. /He  who  thus  comes  to  Me,  Naraya;/a,  the  Self  of  All, 
is  a  Mahatman,  a  man  of  high  soul ;  there  is  no  other  either 
equal  to  him  or  superior  to  him.  Therefore  such  a  man  is  very 
hard  to  find  ;  it  has  indeed  been  said  that  "  among  thousands 
of  men,    one  perchance   strives   for    perfection  "    (vii.    3.) 


The  ignorant   worship  inferior  Gods. 

Now  will  be  shewn  the  cause  of  (the  people)  not  seeing 
that  the  Self  or  Vasudeva  alone  is  the  All  : 

20.  Those  whose  wisdom  has  been  led  away 
by  this  or  that  desire  resort  to  other  Gods,  engaged 
in  this  or  that  rite,  constrained  by  their  own  nature. 

Their  desires  for  progeny,  cattle,  svarga  and  the  like 
deprive  them  of  their  power  of  discrimination,  and  they 
resort  to  other  Gods  (Devatas),  other  than  Vasudeva,  the 
Self.  They  engage  in  rites  peculiar  to  the  worship  of  these 
Gods ;  they  being  constrained  to  do  so  by  their  own  nature 
(praknti),  by  that  peculiar  tendency  (sawskara)  which  they 
acquired  in  the  previous  births. 

Of  these  lustful  men, 

21.  Whatever  devotee  seeks  to  worship  with 
faith  what  form  soever,  that  same  faith  of  his  I 
make  unflinching. 

Whatever  form  of  God  (Devata)  a  man  of  desire  worships 
in  devotion  and  faith,  I  confirm  his  faith  in  the  worship  of 
that  same  form. 

By  whatever  faith  a  man  is  naturally  actuated  and  seeks 
to  worship  a  particular  form  of  Devata, 

22.  Possessed  of  that  faith  he  engages  in  the 
worship  of  that  (form)  ;  thence  he  obtains  his  de- 
sires, these  being  indeed  ordained  by  Me. 

Possessed  of  that  faith  ordained  by  Me,  he  engages  in  the 
worship  of  that  form  of  God.  From  the  God  worshipped 
in  this  form  he  obtains  the  objects  of  his  desire  as  ordained 

;20 — 24]  VIJNANA-YOGA.  1 97 

by  Me,  the  Supreme  Lord,  the  Omniscient,  as  I  alone  know 
the  precise  relation  between  actions  and  their  fruits,  lie- 
cause  their  desires  are  all  ordained  by  the  Lord  Himself, 
therefore  the  devotees  are  sure  to  obtain  them. 

Another  interpretation  is  also  given  which  would  make 
the  last  part  of  the  verse  mean  that  desires  are  beneficial. 
But  desires  can  be  beneficial  only  in  a  secondary  sense ;  for, 
strictly  speaking,  they  are  beneficial  to  nobody. 

Because  they  are  unwise  and  full  of  desires  and  resort  to 
the  means  of  attaining  finite  results,  therefore, 

23.  That  result  indeed  is  finite,  (which  accrues) 
to  those  men  of  small   intellect.     Worshippers  of 
Gods  (Devatas)   go  to  Gods   (Devatas)  ;    My    de-    ^ 
votees  come  unto  Me. 

Though  there  is  the  same  amount  of  exertion  (in  the  two 
kinds  of  worship),  people  do   not  resort  to  Me  so  that  they        y 
may  attain  infinite  results.     Alas !  it  is  very  miserable. —    i/O^ 
Thus  does  the  Lord  express  His  regret. 

Why  do  they  not  come  unto  Me  ? — it  may  be  asked.  The 
answer  follows  : 

24.  The  foolish  regard  Me  as  the  unmanifested 
coming  into  manifestation,  knowing  not  My  high- 
er, immutable,  unsurpassed  nature. 

.  Not  knowing  my  higher  nature  as  the  Supreme  Self,  the 
ignorant  think  that  I  have  just  now  come  into  manifesta- 
tion, having  been  unmanifested  hitherto,  though  I  am  the 
ever  luminous  Lord. 

To  what  is  their  ignorance  due  ? — Listen  ; 

igS  THE    BMAGAVAD-GlTA.  [DiS.    Vllg 

25.  I  am  not  manifest  to  all,  veiled  (as  I  am) 
by  Yoga-Maya.  This  deluded  world  knows  not 
Me,  unborn  and  imperishable. 

I  am  not  nianJest  to  all  people ;  that  is  to  say,  I  am  manifest 
only  to  a  few  who  are  my  devotees.  I  am  veiled  by  Yoga- 
Maya. — Yoga- Maya  is  the  Maya  which  is  none  other 
than  the  Yoga  or  union  of  the  three  guwas. — Or,  Yoga  is 
the  firm  will  of  the  Lord  or  Isvara.  The  Illusion  or  veil 
thereby  spread  is  called  Yoga-Maya. — Wherefore  people 
are  deluded  and  know  Me  not  as  unborn  and  imperishable. 

That  Yoga- Maya  by  which  I  am  veiled  and  on  account 
of  which  people  do  not  recognise  Me,  is  Mine,  i.  c,  subject 
to  My  control,  and,  as  such,  it  cannot  obstruct  My  know- 
ledge— the  knowledge  of  the  Isvara,  of  the  possessor  (or 
wielder)  of  the  Maya,  just  as  the  glamour  (maya)  caused  by 
a  juggler  (mayavin)  does  not  obstruct  his  own  knowledge. 

26.  I  know,  O  Arjuna,  the  past  and  the  present 
and  the  future  beings,  but  Me  nobody  knows. 

Nobody  knows  Me,  except  that  one  man  who  worships 
Me  and  seeks  refuge  with  Me.  Just  for  want  of  knowledge 
of  My  real  nature,  nobody  worships  Me. 

The  root  of  ignorance. 

It  may  be  asked,  "  What  is  that  obstacle  to  their  know- 
ledge of  My  real  nature,  whereby  deluded,  all  creatures  that 
are  born  know  Me  not  ?  " — Listen  : 

27.  From  the  delusion  of  pairs  caused  by  desire 
and  aversion,  O  Bharata,  all  beings  are  subject  to 
illusion  at  birth,  O  harasser  of  thy  foes. 

25 — 28.]  VIJNANA-YOGA.  199 

The  very  desire  and  aversion  which  are  opposed  to  each 
other  like  heat  and  cold,  and  which,  arising  in  connection 
with  pleasure  and  pain  and  their  causes,  occur  to  every 
being  in  its  turn,  are  known  as  pairs  (dvandva).  Now,  when 
desire  and  aversion  arise  on  the  occurrence  of  pleasure  and 
pain  or  of  the  causes  thereof,  they  cause  delusion  in  all  be- 
ings and  create  obstruction  to  the  rise  of  a  knowledge  of  the 
Supreme  Reality,  the  Self,  by  subjugating  to  themselves  the 
intelligence  of  those  beings.  To  one  whose  mind  is  subject 
to  the  passions  of  desire  and  aversion,  there  cannot  indeed 
arise  a  knowledge  of  things  as  they  are,  even  of  the  external 
world  ;  and  it  needs  no  saying  that  to  a  man  whose  intellect 
is  overpowered  by  passion  there  cannot  arise  a  knowledge 
of  the  Innermost  Self,  inasmuch  as  there  are  many  obstacles 
in  its  way.  All  creatures  coming  into  existence  are  born 
subject  to  this  delusion.  Wherefore  every  being  has  its 
intelligence  obscured  by  the  delusion  of  pairs  ;  and  thus  de- 
luded it  knows  not  that  I  am  the  Self,  and  therefore 
worships  Me  not  as  the  Self. 

Divine  worship  leads  to  realisation. 

Who  then  are  free  from  the  delusion  of  pairs  and  know 
Thee  and  worship  Thee  as  their  Self  according  to  the 
Teaching  (5astra)  ? — In  answer  to  this, the  Lord  says: 

28.  Those  mortals  of  pure  deeds  whose  sin  has 
come  to  an  end,  who  are  freed  from  the  delusion 
of  pairs,  they  worship  Me  with  a  firm  resolve. 

Those  persons  of  good  deeds — good  deeds  causing  purity 
of  mind — whose  sin  has  almost  come  to  an  end  are  freed 
from  the  delusion  of  pairs  spoken  of  above  and  worship  Me, 
their  Highest  Self.    They  resolutely  abandon  all  else,  firm 

200  THE    BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.  VII. 

in  the  conviction  that   "  This  is  the  Supreme    Reality  and 
no  other." 

With  what  object  do  they  worship  ? — Listen  : 

29.  Whoever  resorting  to  Me  strive  for  libera- 
tion from  decay  and  death,  they  realise  in  full  that 
Brahman,  the  individual  Self,  and  all  action. 

Those  who,  with  the  mind  steadfast  in  Me,"  the  Supreme 
Lord,  strive  for  liberation  from  decay  and  death,  realise  in 
full,  That,  the  Supreme  (Para)  Brahman.  They  realise  in 
full  the  Reality  underlying  the  Innermost  individual  Self 
(adhyatma),  and  they  know  all  about  action  (karma). 

30.  Those  who  realise  Me  in  the  Adhibhuta 
(physical  region),  in  the  Adhidaiva  (the  divine  re- 
gion) and  in  the  Adhiyajwa  (  region  of  Sacrifice  ), 
realise  Me  even  at  the  time  of  departure,  steadfast 
in  mind. 


ABHYA5A  =  Y0QA. 

The  seven  things  to  be  realised  by  meditation. 

In  vii  29,  30  such  things  have  been  mentioned  by  the 
Lord  as  have  given  occasion  to  Arjuna  to  put  a  question. 
Accordingly  Arjuna  proceeds  to  ask  thus  : 

Arjuna  said  : 
I — 2.  What  is  that  Brahman  ?  What  about 
the  Individual  Self  (Adhyatma)  ?  What  is  action 
(Karma),  O  Purushottama  ?  And  what  is  declared 
to  be  the  physical  region  (Adhibhutal  ?  And  what 
is  the  divine  region  (Adhidaiva)  said  to  be  ?  And 
how  and  who  is  Adhiyajna  (the  Entity  concerned 
with  Sacrifice)  here  in  this  body,  O  Aladhusudana, 
and  how  at  the  time  of  death  art  Thou  to  be  known 
by  the  self-controlled  ? 

The  Lord  proceeds  to  answer  these  questions  in  their 
order  : 

The  Blessed  Lord  said  : 
3.  Brahman  is  the  Imperishable  (Akshara),  the 
Supreme.  The  Ego  is  said  to  be  the  Individual  Self 
(Adhyatma,  He  who  dwells  in  the  body).  The 
offering  which  causes  the  origin  of  physical  beings 
is  called  action  (Karma). 

Brahman  is  the  Akshara,  the  Imperishable,  the  Supreme 
Self  (Paramatman) ;  the  sruti  says  "  O  Gargi,   it  is  at  the 


202  THE    BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.    VIII. 

command  of  this  Akshara,  the  Imperishable  Paramatman, 
that  heaven  and  earth  remain,  held  in  their  places." 
(Bn.  Upanishad,  3-8-9).  '  Akshara'  does  not  here  mean  the 
syllable  "  Om  "  ;  for,  the  latter  is  subsequently  specified 
thus  ; — "Uttering  the  syllable  'Om,'  the  Brahman"  (viii.  13). 
And  the  epithet  '  supreme '  applies  better  to  Brahman,  the 
Imperishable,  who  transcends  all,  (than  to  the  syllable 

The  same  Supreme  Brahman  existing  as  the  Ego,  as  the 
Innermost  Self,  as  the  Pratyagatman,  in  every  individual 
body,  is  said  to  be  Adhydtma:  that  which  first  shows 
itself  as  the  Innermost  Self  in  the  body  and  turns  out  in  the 
end  to  be  identical  with  the  Supreme  Reality,  the  Brahman, 
is  known  by  the  term  '  Adhyatma  '. 

The  sacrificial  act  which  consists  in  offering  cooked  rice, 
cakes  and  the  like  to  the  Gods  (Devatas),  and  which  causes 
the  origin  of  all  creatures,  is  known  by  the  term  '  Karma  '  ; 
for,  it  forms  the  seed  as  it  were  of  all  beings  ;  it  is  in  virtue 
of  this  act  that  all  beings,  animate  and  inanimate,  come  into 
existence,  after  passing  through  rain  and  other  regions  of 

4.  The  physical  region  (Adhibiita)  is  the  perish- 
able existence,  and  Purusha  or  the  Soul  is  the  di- 
vine region  (Adhidaivata).  The  Adhiyaj;ia  (Entity 
concerned  with  Sacrihce)  is  Myself,  here  in  the 
body,  O  best  of  the  embodied. 

The  Adhibhuta  is  that  which  gathers  itself  round  the 
whole  animated  creation  and  is  composed  of  the  whole 
perishable  existence,  i.  c,  of  every  thing  that  has  birth. 

Purusha  is,  literally,  that  by  which  every  thing  is  filled, 
(pri=to  fill)  or  that  which  lies  in  the  body   (pur),  i.  e.j  the 

3 — 7-]  ABHYASA-YOGA.  2tf3 

Ilira/jyaj^arbha,     the  Universal    Soul  abiding   in    the    Sun      i^ 
(Aditya),  the  Sustainer  and  the  Stimulator  of  the  sense'- 
organs  of  all  living  beings. 

T\\&  Adkiyajnaxs  He  who  identifies  himself  with  all  acts  of 
sacrifice,  the  Deity  named  Vishjui ;  the  sruti  says  :  "  Yaj«a 
(Sacrifice)  is  verily  Vish/ai."  (Taittiriya-Sawhita,  1-7-4) 
He  is  verily  Myself.  I  am  the  Deity  concerned  with  all  acts 
of  sacrifice  in  the  body. — As  an  act  of  sacrifice  (yaj//a)  has 
to  be  performed  by  the  body,  it  is  said  to  be  inherent  in  it, 
and  as  such  it  may  be  said  to  rest  in  the  body. 

5.  And  whoso,  at  the  time  of  death,  thinking  of 
Me  alone,  leaves  the  body  and  goes  forth,  he 
reaches  My  being ;  there  is  no  doubt  in  this. 

Me  :  Vish/Hi,  the  Supreme  Lord.  My  being  :  My  real 
being  as  Vish;m.     In  this  :  as  to  whether  he  reaches  or  not. 

Constant  meditation  of  the  Divine  is  necessary. 

Not  to  Me  alone  does  this  rule  apply  ;  but  also  : 

6.  Of  whatever  Being  thinking  at  the  end  a 
man  leaves  the  body.  Him  alone,  O  son  of  Kunti, 
reaches  he  by  whom  the  thought  of  that  Being  has 
been  constantly  dwelt  upon. 

Being:  a  particular  Devata  or  Deity.  At  the  end:  at  the  time 
of  life's  departure.  Him  alone  :  Only  the  Being  thought  of,  and 
no  other.    Dii/elt  npon  :    constantly  meditated. 

Because  thus  the  final  thought  determines  the  character 
of  the  body  to  be  attained  next, 

7.  Therefore  at  all  times  do  thou  meditate  on  Me 
and  fight  :  with  mind  and  reason  fixed  on  Me  thou 
shalt  doubtless  come  to  Me  alone. 


Meditate:  According  to  the  Teaching  (sastra).  Fight  : 
do  thou  perform  thy  proper  duty  of  fighting.  Me:  Vasudeva. 
Come  to  Me :  as  meditated  upon  by  thee. 

The  Divine  Being  to  be  meditated  upon. 


8.  Meditating  with  the  mind  engaged  in  the 
Yoga  of  constant  practice,  not  passing  over  to  any 
thing  else,  one  goes  to  the  Supreme  Purusha,  the 
Resplendent,  O  son  of  Pritha. 

Pyactice  consists  in  the  repetition  of  one  and  the  same 
idea,  uninterrupted  by  any  other  thought,  with  reference  to 
Me,  the  sole  object  of  your  thought.  Such  a  practice  is  itself 
said  to  be  Yoga.  With  the  mind  thus  solely  engaged  in 
Yoga,  not  passing  over  to  any  other  object,  the  Yogin  who 
meditates  according  to  the  teaching  of  the  scripture  and 
of  the  teacher — of  the  sastra  and  acharya — reaches  the 
Purusha,  the  Transcendental  Being  in  the  Solar  Orb. 

What  sort  of  Purusha  does  he  reach  ? — Listen  : 

g — 10.  Whoso  meditates  on  the  Sage,  the 
Ancient,  the  Ruler,  smaller  than  an  atom,  the  Dis- 
penser of  all,  of  unthinkable  nature,  glorious  like 
the  Sun,  beyond  the  darkness,  (whoso  meditates  on 
such  a  Being)  at  the  time  of  death,  with  a  steady 
mind  endued  with  devotion  and  strength  of  Yoga, 
well  fixing  the  life-breath  betwixt  the  eye-brows, 
he  reaches  that  Supreme  Purusha  Resplendent. 

Sage :  the  Omniscient.  The  Rtilev  :  of  the  whole  world. 
Dispenser  :  who  allots  to  all  living  beings  actions  and  their 
results  in  all  their  variety.    It  is  very  difficult  for  anybody 

7 — II.]  ABHYASA-YOGA.  205 

to  conceive  of  His  form  though  it  exists.  Like  the  Sun, 
He  is  gloyiotis  with  the  splendour  of  His  Eternal  Intelligence 
(Nitya-Chaitanya)  which  is  beyond  the  davkness  of  delusion  or 
nescience  (Aj;/ana).  The  siiciigth  of  Yoga  consists  in  the 
steadiness  of  mind  which  results  from  the  after-effects  of 
the  (constant  practice  of)  samadhi.  /At  first  the  mind  ' 
(chitta)  is  subdued  in  the  lotus  of  the  heart  (hndaya- 
pu^rfarika)  ;  then,  by  means  of  the  up-going  narfi  (sushumna), 
after  gradually  obtaining  control  over  the  several  stages  of 
matter  (earth  and  the  other  four  rudimental  elements),  the 
life-breath  of  the  heart  is  drawn  up  and  carefully  fixed 
betwixt  the  eye-brows.  By  this  means  the  wise  man,  the 
Yogin,  reaches  the  Supreme  Purusha,  who  is  resplendent.   / 

Meditation  of  the  Divine  in  the  Pranava. 

The  Lord  now  assigns  a  name  to  that  Brahman  whom 
the  Yogin  wishes  to  reach  by  means  to  be  pointed  out  again 
in  the  sequel,  and  who  will  be  now  described  in  such  terms 
as  '  being  declared  by  the  knowers  of  the  Veda,'  &c.  : 

II.  That  Imperishable  Goal  which  the  know- 
ers of  the  Veda  declare,  which  the  self-controlled 
and  the  passion-free  enter,  which  desiring  they 
load  the  godly  life,  — That  Goal  will  I  declare  to 
thee  with  bre\ity. 

Those  who  understand  the  teaching  of  the  Veda  declare 
the  Imperishable  as  devoid  of  any  attribute  whatsoever. 
The  sruti  says  :  "  This  verily  is  that  (which  you  wished  to 
know  of),  the  Imperishable,  O  Gargi,  as  the  brahma;/as 
( the  knowers  of  the  Brahman )  declare,  '  not  gross,  not 
subtle'"  &c,  (B>'i-Upa.  3-8-8.)  The  sawnyasins,  ever  con- 
trolling themselves,  free  from  passion,  enter  the  Imperish- 


able,  on  attaining  to  right  knowledge.  And  desiring  to 
know  the  Imperishable  they  enter  on  godly  life  (Brahma- 
charya)  with  a  Garu.  Of  That  Goal  which  is  called 
Akshara,  the  Imperishable,  I  shall  tell  thee  with  brevity. 

Having  started  with  the  words  "  He  who  verily  among 
men  meditates  on  the  syllable  '  Om '  till  death,  what  region 
will  he  thereby  attain  to  ?  "  he  (Pippalada)  said  to  him 
(Satyakama)  :  "  O  Satyakama,  this,  the  Brahman,  the 
Higher  and  the  Lower,  is  the  syllable  '  Om  '."  (Prasna-Upa- 
nishad,  5 — i,  2)  ;  and  it  was  subsequently  said:  "  He  who 
will  meditate  on  the  Supreme  Purusha  by  the  three-lettered 
syllable  '  Om  '—he  is  borne  up  by  the  Sama-hymns  to  the 
Brahma-loka,  to  the  region  of  Brahman."     {Ibid,  S'S)- 

Again,  having  started  with  the  words  "  Elsewhere  than 
in  dharma  and  elsewhere  than  in  a-dharma,  tell  me  what 
thou  seest ;  "  (Ka^ha-Upanishad,  2-13),  thesruti  says,  "that 
goal  which  all  the  Vedas  speak  of  {i.e.,  are  intended  for), 
which  all  the  austerities  speak  of,  desiring  which  they  lead 
the  life  of  Brahmacharya  (celibacy),  that  goal  I  tell  thee  in 
brevity  :   It  is  this,  the  syllable  'Om.'  "  {Ibid  2-14). 

In  such  passages  as  these,  the  syllable  '  Om  ',  regarded 
either  as  an  expression  of  the  Para-Brahman  or  as  a  symbol 
of  Him  like  an  idol,  is  intended  for  persons  of  dull  and  mid- 
dling intellects  as  a  means  of  knowing  the  Para-Brahman  ; 
and  the  contemplation  of  the  'Om'  is  said  to  produce  moksha 
at  a  subsetjuent  period.  Now,  the  same  contemplation 
(conjoined  with  firmness  in  Yoga)  of  the  syllable  'Om', 
productive  of  mukti  at  a  subsequent  period — the  '  Om  ' 
forming,  as  shown  above,  a  means  of  knowing  the  Para- 
Brahman  described  here  (viii.  g,  11) — has  to  be  taught  here 
as  well  as  some  minor  matters   connected  with  the  main 

II  — 14.]  ABHYASA-YOGA.  207 

subject.  With  this  view,  the  Lord  proceeds  with  the  sequel : 

12-13.  Having  closed  all  the  gates,  having  con- 
fined mind  in  the  heart,  having  fixed  his  life-breath 
in  the  head,  engaged  in  firm  Yoga,  uttering  Brah- 
man, the  one-syllabled  'Om,'  thinking  of  Me,  who- 
so departs,  leaving  the  body,  he  reaches  the 
Supreme  Goal. 

/  Having  closed  all  the  avenues  of  knowledge  and  having 
concentrated  thought  in  the  lotus  of  the  heart,  and  with 
thought  thus  controlled,  he  ascends  by  the  NcWi  which 
passes  upwards  from  the  heart,  and  then  fixing  life-breath 
in  the  head,  he  utters  the  syllable  '  Om  ',  the  appellation  of 
the  Brahman,  and  meditates  on  l\Ie./-'  Leaving  the  hody^ 
shows  the  mode  of  departure.  The  departure  takes  place 
by  the  Self  leaving  the  body,  not  by  the  Self  being  destroyed. 

No  re= birth  on  attaining  to  tlie  Divine  Being. 


14.  Whoso  constantly  thinks  of  Me  and  long, 
to  him  I  am  easily  accessible,  O  son  of  Pritha,  to 
the  ever-devout  Yogin. 

He  who  thinks  of  Me,  the  Supreme  Lord,  long — i.  e., 
not  for  six  months  or  a  year,  but  uninterruptedly  through- 
out life, — to  that  Yogin  who  is  ever  steadfast  in  thought,  I 
am  easily  accessible.  This  being  so,  therefore,  without 
thinking  of  another,  one  should  ever  dwell  steadfast  in  Me. 

It  may  be  asked,  "  What  if  Thou  art  easily  accessible  ?" — 
Listen  ;  I  shall  tell  you  of  what  use  is  My  being  thus  easily 
accessible  : 


2o8  THE    RHAGAVAD-GtTA.  [DiS.    VIII. 

15.  Having  attained  to  Me,  they  do  not  again 
attain  birth,  which  is  the  seat  of  pain  and  is  not 
eternal,  they  having  reached  highest  perfection. 

Having  attained  to  Me,  the  Isvara,  having  reached  My 
being,  they  are  not  again  subject  to  birth.  Birth  here  is  the 
seat  of  ah  pain  arising  from  the  body,  etc.,  and  is  of  an  ever- 
changing  nature.  Having  reached  the  highest  stage  called 
moksha,  they  do  not  attain  birth  again.  Those,  on  the 
other  hand,  who  do  not  attain  to  Me,  return  again  (to  the 

Do  those  again  return  who  have  reached  any  other  being 
than  Thyself? — Listen: 

16.  (All)  worlds  including  the  world  of  Brahma 
are  subject  to  returning  again,  O  Arjuna  ;  but,  on 
reaching  Mc,  O  son  of  Kunti,  there  is  no  rebirth. 

The  Day  and  the  Night  of  Brahma. 

Why  are  all  the  worlds  including  the  world  of  Brahma 
subject  to  returning? — Because  they  are  limited  by  time. — 

17.  They — those  people  who  know  da}'  and 
night — know  that  the  day  of  Brahma  is  a  thousand 
yugas  long  and  the  night  is  a  thousand  yugas  long. 

Brahma  is  the  Prajapati,  the  Viraj.  Those  persons  who 
know  how  to  compute  Time  know  that  Brahma's  day  is  a 
thousand  yugas  long,  and  that  His  night  is  of  the  same 
duration  as  His  day.  Because  the  worlds  are  thus  limited 
by  time,  therefore  they  return  again. 

What  takes  place  during  the  Prajapati's  day  and  what 
takes  place  during  His  night  will  now  be  described : 

15 — 19]  ADHYASA-YOGA.  209- 

18.  From  the  Unmanifestcd  all  the  manifesta- 
tions proceed  at  the  coming  on  of  day  ;  at  the 
coming  on  of  night  they  dissolve  there  only,  in 
what  is  called  the  Unmanifested. 

The  Unmanifested  (Avyakta)  is  the  sleeping  condition  of 
the  Prajapati  who  is  asleep.  Out  of  That,  all  manifestations 
(vyaktisj,  all  creatures,  unmoving  and  moving  (sthavara  i^ 
and  ja;/gama),  are  manifested  at  the  coming  on  of  day,  i.  e., 
when  Brahma  awakes.  So,  at  the  coming  on  of  night,  i.  e., 
when  Brahma  goes  to  sleep,  all  the  manifestations  dissolve 
there  only,  in  what  is  called  Avyakta,  the  one  already 
spoken  of. 

With  a  view  to  avoid  the  fallacious  implication  that  a  man 
reaps  the  fruits  of  what  he  has  not  done,  or  that  he  does  not 
reap  the  fruits  of  what  he  has  done,  with  a  view  to  show  that 
the  teaching  of  the  scripture  concerning  bondage  (bandha) 
and  lib3ralio:i  (moksha)  has  a  purpose  to  serve,  and  with  a 
view  further  to  teach  detachment  from  sawsira  by  shovv- 
ing  that,  as  the  effect  of  karma  caused  by  avidya  (nescience) 
and  other  sources  of  evil,  all  creatures  involuntarily  come 
into  being  again  and  again  and  dissolve,  the  Lord  says : 

ig.  This  samj  multitude  of  beings,  having  come 
into  being  again  and  again,  is  dissolved  at  the 
coming  on  of  night,  .not  of  their  will,  O  son  of 
P/'itha,  and  comes  forth  at  the  coming  on  of  da}'. 

This  multitude  of  beings  comprising  those  that  move  as 
well  as  those  that  do  not —  the  same  multitude  that  existed 
in  the  preceding  kalpa  or  age,  and  no  other  —  involuntarily 
comes  into  being  at  the  coming  on  of  day,  and  is  dissolved 
again  at  the  coming  on  of  night,  at   the  close  of  the  day. 


210  THE    BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.    VIII. 

Again,  at  the  coming  on  of  day,  it  involuntarily  comes  into 

The  Highest  Goal — how  reached. 

In  viii.  13,  etc.,  has  been  shown  the  way,  by  which  to  reach 
the  Imperishable  (Akshara)  described  above.  Now,  with 
a  view  to  indicate  ths  nature  of  the  Akshara,  with  a  view 
thus  to  specify  that  so  and  so  is  the  thing  to  be  reached 
by  this  path  of  Yoga,  the  Lord  proceeds  as  follows : 

20.  But  that  other  eternal  Unmanifested  Be- 
ing, distinct  from  this  Unmanifested  (Avyakta), — 
He  does  not  perish  when  all  creatures  perish. 

'  But'  indicates  that  the  Akshara  who  is  to  be  described 
now  is  distinct  from  the  .Vvyakta.  Being:  the  Supreme, 
the  Para-Brahman,  called  the  Akshara.  Though  distinct 
from  the  Avyakta,  one  may  suppose  that  He  is  of  the  same 
nature  as  the  Avyakta.  To  remove  this  impression,  the 
Lord  qualifies  Him  by  '  other  ',  meaning  thereby  that  He  is 
of  a  different  nature  from  the  Avyakta.  He  is  unmanifest- 
ed, imperceptible  to  the  senses.  He  is  distinct  from  the 
Avyakta  mentioned  abov-e,  which  is  Avidya  itself,  the  seed 
of  the  whole  multitude  of  created  beings  ;  that  is  to  say,  H  e 
is  of  quite  a  different  nature  from  the  Avyakta.  He  does 
not  perish  when  all  beings  from  Brahm'i  downwards  perish. 

21.  What  is  called  the  Unmanifested  and  the 
Imperishable,  That,  they  say,  is  the  highest  goal  ; 
which  having  reached  none  return.  That  is  My 
highest  place. 

Th.ii :  that  Avyakta  which  is  called  Akshara,  the  Imper- 
ishable, the   Unmanifested   Bsins:.      Havins:  reached  that 


19 — 23.]  ABHYASA-YOGA.  211 

state,  none  has  returned  to  sa;«sara,  the  mundane  life.  That 
is  INIy  {i.  e.  Vish;/u's)  Supreme  Abode. 

The  means  of  attaining  to  that  state  will  now  be  pointed 
out : 

22.  Now,  that  Highest  Purusha,  O  son  of 
Pntha,  within  Whom  all  beings  dwell,  by  Whom  all 
this  is  pervaded,  is  attainable  by  exclusive  devotion. 

Purusha  is  so  called  because  He  rests  in  the  body,  or 
because  He  is  full.  Than  Him  none  is  higher.  He  is  at- 
tained by  exclusive  devotion,  i.e.,  by  J7?tlna  or  knowledge  of 
the  Self.  All  the  created  beings  abide  within  the  Purusha; 
for,  every  effect  rests  within  its  cause ;  and  by  that  Purusha 
the  whole  world  is  pervaded. 

The  Paths  of  Light  and  Darkness. 

Now  it  is  necessary  to  speak  of  the  Uttaramarga,  '  the 
Northern  Path',  the  Path  of  Light  by  which  the  Yogins 
just  spoken  of  attain  to  Brahman, — those  Yogins  who 
meditate  here  on  Brahman  as  inhering  in  the  Pra//ava,  in 
the  syllable  '  Om ',  and  who  attain  to  moksha  later  on.  '•' 
And  this  will  be  taught  in  the  section  beginning  with  viii.  23. 
The  path  of  return  is  also  described,  only  with  a  view  to 
extol  the  other  path. 

23.  Now,  in  what  time  departing,  Yogins  go  to 
return  not,  as  also  to  return,  that  time  will  I  tell 
thee,  O  chief  of  the  Bharatas. 

'  In  what  time'  should  be  construed  with  'departing.'  'To 
return '  means  to  be  reborn — '  Yogins  '  stand  for  those  who 
are  engaged  in  meditation    {i.  e.,    those   who   are   properly 

*  At  the  end  of  the  kalpa. 


called  Yogins)  as  well  as  for  Karmins,  i.  e.,  those  who  are 
engaged  in  karma  or  action.  The  latter  are  spoken  of  as 
Yogins  only  by  courtesy ;  and  they  are  so  spoken  of  in 
iii.  3. — I  shall  tell  you,  when  dying  the  Yogins  are  not  born 
again,  and  when  dying  they  will  be  born  again. 

He  speaks  of  that  time  : 

24.  Fire,  light,  day-time,  the  bright  fortnight, 
the  six  months  of  the  northern  solstice, — then  de- 
parting, men  who  know  Brahman  reach  Brahman. 

'  Fire  '  is  the  deity  presiding  over  time  ;  so  also  is  'light ' 
a  deity  presiding  over  time. — Or,  it  may  be  that  '  fire '  and 
'  light '  are  the  deities  so  called  ;  the  reference,  however,  to 
the  path  as  a  whole  by  the  expressions  '  in  what  time '  and 
'  that  time '  being  due  to  the  predominance  of  the  deities 
presiding  over  *  time.' — The  '  day-time  '  is  the  deity  presid- 
ing over  the  day-time,  the  '  bright  fortnight '  is  the  deity 
presiding  over  the  bright  fortnight.  The  six  months  of  the 
northern  solstice  :  here  also,  it  is  the  deity  that  forms  the 
path.  The  principle  on  which  this  interpretation  of  the 
passage  is  based  has  been  established  elsewhere.  '■'  Those 
who  die,  having  been  engaged  in  the  contemplation  of 
Brahman,  reach  Brahman  by  this  path.  The  expression 
"in  course  of  time"  should  be  understood  after  'reach'; 
for,  those  who  are  firm  in  devotion  to  right  knowledge  and 
attain  to  immediate  liberation  have  no  place  to  go  to  or  to 
return  from. 

25.  Smoke,  night-time,  and  the  dark  fortnight, 
the  six  months  of  the  southern  solstice, — attaining 
by  these  to  the  lunar  light,  the  Yogin  returns. 

*  Sariraka-Mimamsa,  iv.  3-4. 

23 — 28]  ABHYASA-YOGA.  213 

'  Smoke,'  *  night  time'  the  '  dark  fortnight,'  and  the  'six 
months  of  the  southern  solstice,'  are  all  deities  presiding 
over  smoke  and  periods  of  time  spoken  of.  By  this  path, 
the  Yogin — the  Karmin  who  performs  sacrifices  (to  Gods) 
and  other  works — attains  to  the  lunar  light,  and,  on  the 
exhaustion  thereof,  returns  again  to  earth. 

26.  These  bright  and  dark  Paths  of  the  world 
are  verily  deemed  eternal  ;  by  the  one  a  man  goes 
to  return  not,  by  the  other  he  returns  again. 

The  one  is  bright  '•'  because  it  illumines  knowledge  ;  the 
other  is  dark '■=  because  it  is  wanting  in  that  light.  The  two- 
paths  are  open  to  those  only  in  the  world  who  are  engaged 
in  action  or  devoted  to  knowledge  ;  they  are  not  open  to 
the  whole  world.  They  are  eternal,  because  sawsara  is 
eternal.     By  the  one  :  by  the  bright  one. 

27.  Knowing  these  paths,  O  son  of  Pritha,  no 
Yogin  is  deluded  :  wherefore  at  all  times  be  stead- 
fast in  Yoga,  O  Arjuna. 

The  Yogin  who  knows  that  one  of  the  two  foregoing  paths 
leads  to  sawsara  and  that  the  other  leads  to  moksha  is  no 
lonijer  deluded,  f 


Excellence  of  Yoga. 

Now,  hear  of  the  greatness  of  that  Yoga 

*  The   two   paths   are    respectively  ■      1  11       .  u   j  1         ■  a   -  „- 

^  '  ■"        mine  knowledge,  is  reached  by  avidya  or 

called  Devayana  and  Pitiiyana.  the  path  .  ,  .  .     .  ^.  j.     .  u 

^  nescience,  and  is  marked  throughout  by 

to  the  Devas  and  the  path  to   the    Pitris.  ,  .      ,        ,     ,     ,  . 

smoke  and  other  dark  things  . 
The  one  is  said  to  be   bright  because  it  x    ,    .u    i-     •     ■     1    j       u     v.  .u     r 

t  As  the  \ogm  includes  the  Path  of 

illumines  knowledge  and  is    reached  by       t  •  u»  •     u-    tit  j-.  ^-         u  n 

"  ■'        Light  in  his  Meditation,  he  will  not   re- 

knowledge,  and  its  course  is  marked 
throughout  by  bright  objects  ;  the  othei 
is  said  to  be  dark  because  it  does  not  illu 

gard  the  other  path  as  the   one  he  should 
throughout  by  bright  objects  ;   the  other       resort  to.— (A.) 


28.  Whatever  fruit  of  merit  is  declared  to 
accrue  from  the  Vedas,  sacrifices,  austerities  and 
gifts, — beyond  all  this  goes  the  Yogin  on  knowing 
this ;  and  he  attains  to  the  Supreme  Primeval 

Whatever  fruit  of  merit  is  declared  by  the  scriptures  to  be 
attainable  when  the  Vedas  are  properly  studied,  when  the 
sacrifices  are  performed  in  all  their  parts,  when  austerities 
are  well  practised, — beyond  all  this  multitude  of  fruits  rises 
the  Yogin  who  rightly  understands  and  follows  the  teaching 
imparted  (by  the  Lord)  in  His  answers  to  the  seven  ques- 
tions, and  he  then  attains  to  the  highest  abode  of  Isvara — 
which  existed  even  in  the  beginning  ; — He  attains  Brahman, 
the  Cause. 




Brahma-=Jnana  is  the  best  Religion. 

In  the  eighth  discourse  has  been  declared  the  Yoga  of 
concentration  (dhiira«a)  through  nkdl "  as  well  as  its  pro- 
cess f,  and  its  result  has  been  shown  to  be  none  other 
than  the  attainment  of  Brahman — at  a  subsequent  period, 
through  '  fire  and  light '  and  the  like, — whence  there  is  no 
return.  Now,  with  a  view  to  give  no  room  to  the  supposi- 
tion that  the  attainment  of  moksha  is  possible  only  by  this 
means  and  by  no  other,  the  Lord  proceeds  as  follows  : 

The  Blessed  Lord  said  : 

I.  To  thee  who  dost  not  cavil,  I  shall  now 
declare  this,  the  greatest  secret,  knowledge  com- 
bined with  experience, t  which  having  known  thou 
shalt  be  liberated  from  evil. 

This  :  the  Brahma-jwana,  tjie  knowledge  uf  Brahman, 
which  is  going  to  be  declared,  and  which  has  been  declared 
in  the  preceding  discourses.  Nott' :  this  word  points  to  the 
superiority  of  knowledge  (over  Dhyana):  this  right  knowledge 
alone  forms  the  direct  means  of  attaining  moksha,  as  declar- 
ed in  the  sruti  and  the  smnti : 

"  Vasudeva  is  the  AH" — (Bhagavadgitd,  vii.  ig.) 

*    The  Siislu4!niiu   'the  bright.'    Con-        f  Such  as  closing  all  the  gates  (viii. 12, 13. 
centration  (dharana)  is  only  an  anga  or        i  5dA:s/ia/A«ra,  intuitive  or  direct  percep-  ^ 
auxiliary  of  Yoga.  tion. 


"  All  this  is  the  Se\L"—{Chhdnd.  Upa.,  7-25-2.) 
"  One  only  without  a  second  " — {Ibid,  6-2-1.) 

And  nothing  else  is  a  direct   means  to  moksha,  as  the  pass- 
ages of  the  sruti  like  the  following  declare  : 

"  Now  the  other  princes  who  understand  otherwise 
than  thus,*  they  shall  attain  to  perishable  regions." — 
{Ibid,  7-25-2.) 

On  attaining  this  knowledge  you  will  be  liberated  from 
the  bondage  of  sawsara. 

And  it  is 

2.  The  Sovereign  Science,  the  Sovereign  Secret, 
the  Supreme  Purifier  is  this ;  immediately  com- 
prehensible, unopposed  to  Dharma,  very  easy  to 
perform,  imperishable. 

Of  sciences  it  is  the  king,  because  it  is  of  great  splendour. 
Indeed,  the  science  of  Brahman  is  tlie  most  brilliant  j  of  all 
sciences.  So  also,  it  is  the  king  of  secrets.  Of  all  the 
purifiers,  this  knowledge  of  Brahman  is  the  best  purifier. 
That  it  is  a  purifier  needs  no  saying,  since  it  reduces  karma 
to  ashes  in  an  instant,  root  and  all, — all  the  karma,  dharma 
and  a-dharma,  which  has  been  accumulated  during  many 
thousand  births.  Moreover,  it  j  can  be  comprehended  by 
pyatyalisha,  by  immediate  perception,  like  the  feeling  of 
pleasure  and  so  on.  What  is  possessed  of  many  a  desirable 
quality  may  be  opposed  to  dharma  ;  but  not  so  is  the  know- 

*  That  all  this  I3  one  Brahman.  with  the  Brahmu-juana,  revoaled  by  the 

%  Greater  reverence  is  shewn   to  those  sruti   and   the   smriti,   it  is   not   known 

who  know  Brahman  than  to  other    men  through  revelation  solely,  but  it  is  known 

of  learning.  by  pratyaksha,  by  immediate  or  intuitive 

§  The  Brahma-j«ana  or  its  effect.  Un-  perception,  as  welt 
like  the  other  things  which  are,  equally 

I — 3-]        SOVEREIGN  WISDOM  AND  SECRET.        217 

ledge  of  Atman  opposed  to  Dharnia ;  on  the  other  hand  it 
is  not  separable  from  Dharma,  i.  e.,  not  opposed  to  it.  Even 
then  it  may  be  supposed  that  it  is  very  difficult  to  attain  ; 
but  it  is  not  so,  says  the  Lord.  It  is  very  easy  to  acquire, 
like  the  power  of  discriminating  gems.  '■"'■  Now,  of  the  other 
acts,  those  which  involve  little  trouble  and  are  easily  ac- 
complished are  seen  to  be  productive  of  small  results,  and 
difficult  acts  are  found  to  be  productive  of  great  results. 
Accordingly  it  may  be  imagined  that  this  Brahma-j«ana 
which  is  so  easily  attained  perishes  when  its  effect  is  ex- 
hausted :  to  prevent  this  supposition,  the  Lord  says  that  it 
is  imperishable.  It  does  not  perish  like  an  act  when  the 
effect  is  exhausted.  Wherefore  knowledge  of  Atman  (Self) 
is  worth  acquiring. 


3.  Persons  having  no  faith  in  this  Dharma,  O 
harasser  of  thy  foes,  without  reaching  Me,  remain 
verily  in  the  path  of  the  mortal  world. 

Those  who  have  no  faith  in  this  Dharma  (law,  religion) 
viz.,  knowledge  of  the  Self,  those  who  do  not  believe  in  its 
existence  or  in  its  effects,  the  sinful  who  follow  the  doctrine 
of  the  Demons  (Asuras),  regarding  the  physical  body  itself 
as  the  Self, — these  greedy  and  sinful  persons  do  not  attain 
to  Me,  the  Supreme  Lord. — The  attaining  of  Me  is  certain- 
ly out  of  question  ;  wherefore,  the  implication  is  that  they 
do  not  attain  even  to  devotion  (Bhakti)  which  is  one  of  the 
paths  leading  to  Me ;  they  are  sure  to  remain  in  the  path  of 

*  Verily  this  knowledge  is  easily  ac-       Brahma-jndna. 
quired  when  taught  by  an  adept ;   so  is 



the  mortal  world,  in  that  path  only   which    leads   to   hell 
y    (naraka)  and  to  the  lower  kingdoms  of  animals,  etc. 

All  beings  rest  in  the    Lord. 

Having  prepared  Arjuna   (to  listen  to  the   Doctrine)  by 
extolling  it,  the  Lord  says: 

4.  By  Me  all  this  world  is  pervaded,  My  form 
unmanifestcd.  All  beings  dwell  in  Me ;  and  I  do 
not  dwell  in  them. 

All  this  world  is  pervaded  by  My  Highest  Being,  My 
form  being  invisible  to  the  senses.  In  Me,  of  unmanifested 
form,  dwell  all  beings  from  Brahma  down  to  the  plant.  No 
being  devoid  of  the  Self  can  ever  become  an  object  of 
experience.  Wherefore  they  dwell  in  Me,  i.  e.,  they  are 
self-existent  (or  have  an  individual  existence)  through  Me, 
the  Self,  {i.  c,  they  are  what  they  are  in  virtue  of  Me,  the 
Self,  underlying  them  all.)  'Since  I  am  the  Self  of  all  those 
beings,  it  would  seena  to  the  deluded  as  though  I  dwell  in 
them.  Wherefore  I  say  :  I  do  not  dwell  in  those  beings,  be- 
cause of  the  absence  of  contact  with  others,  unlike  corporeal 
things.  I  am,  certainly,  the  innermost  essence  even  of  the 
,  akasa.  That  which  is  unconnected  with  any  object  cannot 
I   indeed  be  contained  anywhere  as  though  in  a  receptacle. 

Wherefore,  as  I  am  unconnected  with  any  object, 

5.  Nor  do  those  beings  dwell  in  Me ;  behold 
My  Divine  Yoga !  Sustaining  all  beings,  but  not 
dwelling  in  them,  is  My  Self,   the  cause  of  beings. 

And  yet  these  beings,  from    Brahma   downwards,    dwell 
not  in  Me  ;  behold  My  Divine  working,  the  Divine  Mystery, 

3 — 7]  SOVEREIGN    WISDOM    AND    SECRET.  21^ 

the  real  nature  of  the  Self.  Accordinf^ly,  the  sruti  speaks 
of  the  unattached  condition  of  the  Self,  seeing  that  He  is 
unconnected  with  any  object :  "  Devoid  of  attachment,  He 
is   never  attached." — (  Brih.  Up.  3-9-26.) 

Behold,  there  is  yet  another  mystery.  Though  unattach- 
ed, My  Self  supports  all  beings,  but  does  not  dwell  in 
them,  as  shown  above  with  reasons.  "•' — Then  how  to  justify 
the  Lord's  words,  'My  Self? — We  answer :  Separating 
( from  the  Real  Self )  the  aggregate  of  the  physical  and 
other  material  environments,  and  regarding  that  aggregate 
as  the  '  I ',  the  Lord  speaks  of  the  Self  as  '  My  Self, — so 
far  following  only  the  popular  conception  ;  not  certainly 
that  He  believes,  as  the  masses  ignorantly  believe,  that  the 
Atman,  the  Self,  is  distinct  from  Himself,  f  And  further 
it  is  Myself  that  cause  all  beings  to  come  into  being,  that 
cause  all  beings  to  grow. 

By  way  of  illustrating  by  an  example  what  has  been 
taught  in  the  two  preceding  verses,  the  Lord  says  : 

6.  As  the  mighty  wind  moving  everywhere  rests 
ever  in  the  akasa,  so,  know  thou,  do  all  beings,  rest 
in  Me. 

It  is  observed  in  our  ordinary  experience  that  the  wind, 
moving  everywhere  and  mighty  in  expanse,  ever  rests  in 
the  akasa  ;  so  also  in  Me,  who  am  all-pervading  like  the 
akasa,  do  all  beings  rest,    without  any  contact  at  all. 

The  Lord  is  the  source  and  the  end  of  all  beings. 

Thus,  as  the  wind  rests  in  the  akasa,  so  do  all  beings 
rest  in  Me  as  long  as  the  world  lasts. 

♦    Because    the    Self  is  unconnected  +  Because  such  a  relation  between  the 

with  any  object.  —  (A. )  Self  &  the  bodily  aggregate  is  illusory.  (.A.) 

220  THE    BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.  IX. 

7.     All   beings,  O  son    of   Kunti,  go    into    My 
Prakriti  at  the  end  of  a  kalpa.     I  send  them  forth 
again  at  the  beginning  of  (the  next)  kalpa. 
Pvakviti :  the  inferior  one  composed  of  the  three  gu//as. 
The  end  of  a  kalpa  is  the  time  of  dissolution  (pralaya),  and 
the  beginning  of  a  kalpa  is  the  time  of  production  (utpatti). 

Thus  : 

Resorting  to  My  Prakriti,  I  again  and  again 
send  forth  this  whole  multitude  of  beings,  power- 
less under  the  control  of  the  Prakriti. 

With  the  help  of  the  Prak^'iti,  i.e.,  of  Avidya,  which  is 
subject  to  Me,  I  cause  all  these  beings  we  now  see  to 
emanate  again  and  again  from  the  Praknti ;  all  of  them  being 
rendered  powerless  by  avidya  and  other  sources  of  evil  under 
the  influence  of  the  Prakriti,  i.  c,  of  Svabhava  or  Nature. 

The  Lord  is  not  bound  by  His  acts. 

Then  as  creating  this  multitude  of  beings  of  unequal 
conditions,  Thou,  the  Supreme  Lord,  shalt  be  subject  to 
dharma  and  a-dharma  arising  from  that  act  ? — In  reply,  the 
Lord  says  : 

9.  Nor  do  these  acts,  O  Dhanawjaya,  bind  Me, 
remaining  like  one  unconcerned,  unattached  to 
those  acts. 

The  acts  involved  in  the  unequal  creation  of  the  multitudi- 
nous beings  do  not  bind  Me,  the  Isvara. — Now,  the  Lord 
gives  the  reason  why  He  is  not  affected  by  the  acts: — I, 
knowing  the  immutability  of  the  Self,  remain  like  one  who 
is  unconcerned,  without  attachment  for  the  fruit  of  the  act, 

7 — 10.]     SOVEREIGN  WISDOM  AND  SECRET.  221 

j.^.,  without  the  egotistic  feeling  'I  do.  '   Wherefore,  in  the   >^ 
case  of  others  also,  the  absence  of  the  egotistic  feeling  of. 
agency  and  the  absence  of  attachment  for  results  is  the  cause 
of  freedom  (from  dharma  and  a-dharma  ).      Otherwise,  tjie 
deluded  man  is  bound  by  bis  own  acts  like  the  silk- worm 
in  the  cocoon. 

Now,  the  statements  '  1  send  forth  this  multitude  of 
beings  '  (ix.  7)  and  '  remaining  like  one  unconcerned  '  involve 
a  self-contradiction.  In  explanation  thereof,  the  Lord  says  : 

10.  By  Me  presiding,  Prakj'iti  produces  the  mov- 
ing and  the  unmoving ;  because  of  this,  O  son  of 
Kunti,  the  world  revolves. 

By  Me  presiding  :  as  a  mere  viewer  on  evey  side  and  the 
immutable  witness.  My  Maya,  i.e.,  the  Avidya,  composed 
of  the  three  gu«as,  produces  the  universe  comprising  the 
moving  and  the  unmoving  objects.     So  says  the  chant : 

'  The  one,   the  luminous,  hidden  in  all  beings,  all-    1 
pervading,  the  Inner  Self  of  all,  the  superintendent  of  all 
acts,  the  abode  of  all  beings,  the  witness,  the  perceiver, 
alone, and  free  from  qualities.' — {Svetasvatara-Up.  6-1 1). 

Because  I  am  the  witness,  because  I  preside,  this 
universe  comprising  the  moving  and  the  unmoving 
objects,  the  manifested  and  the  unmanifested,  moves  on 
through  all  stages.  Indeed,  all  activity  in  the  world— such 
as  '  I  shall  enjoy  this,'  '  I  see  this,'  '  I  hear  this,'  '  I  feel 
pleasure,'  '  I  feel  pain,'  '  To  gain  this  I  shall  do  it,'  '  I  shall 
learn  this  ' — arises  by  way  of  forming  an  object  of  consci- 
ousness ;  it  has  its  being  in  consciousness  and  has  its  end 
in  consciousness.  Such  chants  as  '  Who  in  the  Supreme 
Heaven  (of  the  heart)  is  the  witness  of  this  ; '  (Tai.  Br.  2-8-9) 


111  THE  BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.    IX. 

point  only  to  this  view.  Accordingly'"  as  there  is  no  conscious 
entity  other  than  the  One  Divine  Being,  there  cannot  be  a 
separate  enjoyer  ;  and  it  is  therefore  irrelevant  to  ask  or  to 
answer  the  question  f ,  '  Of  what  purpose  is  this  creation 
by  the  One,  the  Divine,  the  pure  all-witnessing  Spirit  or 
Consciousness,  having  really  no  concern  with  any  enjoy- 
ment whatever  ? '     So  says  the  srutit  : 

'Who  could  perceive  (It)  directly,  and  who  could 
declare  whence   born  and  why   this   variegated   crea- 
tion? '— (Tai.  Br.  2-8-9). 
The  Lord  has  also  said  : 

'  Wisdom  is  enveloped  by  unwisdom;  thereby  mortals 
are  deluded,' S — (v.  15). 

The  life  of  the  impious. 

Though  I  am  thus  eternal,  pure,  wise,  and  free  by  nature, 
Omniscient,  the  Self  of  all, 

II.  Fools  disregard  Me  clad  in  human  form, 
not  knowing  My  higher  being  as  the  Great  Lord 
of  beings. 

Fools,  unable  to  discriminate,  despise  Me  living  among 
them  with  a  human  body,  these  fools  not  understanding  My 

•  The  /svara  being  the  creator  of  the  ^'o""  '^  Creation  intended  to  secure  niok- 

Universe  is  the  mere  witness  thereof.  s^'"''   because  it    is  opposed   to  moksha^ 

t  It  is  not  right  to  ask  or  answer  the  Thus,  neither  the  question  nor  an  answer 

question  '  %vhat  is  the   purpose    of  Crea-  to  it  is  possible ;  and  there  is  no  occasion 

lion  ?'  We  cannot  say  that  it  is  meant  for  for  it,  as  Creation  is  due  to  the  Maya  of 

the  enjoyment  of  the  Supreme  ;  for,  the  the  Supreme.-(A. ) 

Supreme  really  enjoys  nothing.  It  is  pure  I  This  sruti  means  that  it  is  very  hard 

consciousness,  a  mere  witness.  And  there  to  ^ow  the   Supreme  Self. 

is  no  other  enjoyer,  for  there  is  no  other  >>  This  passage  shows  that  creation  is 

conscious  entity.  The  /svara  is  one  only  ;  ^^ue  to  aj«ana  or  nescience, 
and  what  is  not  conscious  cannot  enjoy. 

10 — 13]       SOVEREIGN  WISDOM  AND  SECRET.         223 

higher  being, — not  knowing  that  I  am  the  Supreme  Self, 
that  I  am,  like  sYkasa,  more  intimately  connected  with  things 
than  even  akasa,  that  I  am  the  Great  Lord,  the  very  Self,  of 
all  beings.  Then  by  continually  despising  Me,  these  poor 
creatures  are  ruined. 

How  (is  their  condition  pitiable)  ? 

12.  Of  vain  hopes,  of  vain  actions,  of  vain 
knowledge,  devoid  of  discriijiination,  partaking  only 
of  the  delusive  nature  of  Rakshasas  and  Asuras. 

They  cherish  vain  hopes.  The  agnihotra  and  other 
actions  performed  by  them  are  fruitless,  because  they  insult 
the  Lord,  because  they  neglect  their  own  Self.  Even  their 
knowledge  is  fruitless.  They  are  devoid  of  discrimination. 
They  partake  of  the  nature  of  Rakshasas  and  Asuras.*  They 
see  no  self  beyond  the  body  and  engage  in  cruel  deeds,  their 
rule  of  conduct  being  'cut,  break,  drink,  devour,  rob  others' 

The  vva3's  of  the  faithful  devotees. 

But,  the  faithful  who  are  engaged  in  devotion  (Bhakti)  to 
the  Lord,  i.  c,  who  walk  in  the  path  of  moksha, 

13.  The  Mahatmans,  O  son  of  Pntha,  partaking 
of  the  nature  of  the  Devas,  worship  Me  with  mind 
turned  to  no  other, f  knowing  (Me)  as  the  imperish- 
able source  of  all  beings. 

Mahatmans:  the  high-souled.j     The  nature  of  the  Devas 

^       *  After  deuth  such  people  will  be  born  +  with  the  mind   resting   on    Me,  the 

as  Rakshasas  or  Asuras.    The  nature  of  Innermost  Self,   who  am  no   other  than 

Rakshasas  consists  in  committing  deeds  their  own  Self. 

of  cruelty,  and  that  of  Asuras    in    rob-  J  Those  whose  mind  (sattva)  has  been 

bing  another's  property,  in  the  absence  purified  by  yajna  or  sacrifice,  &c. 
of  charity  and  of  sacrifice. 

224  T"E    BHAGAVAD-GiTA.  [DiS.    IX. 

(Gods)  consists  in  their  control  over  the  body,  mind  and  the 
senses,  in  kindness,  in  faith   and  the  hke.    Beings :  bhutas, 
all  living  creatures  as  well  as  all  elements  of  matter. 
How  (do  they  worship)  ? 

14.  Always  talking  of  Me,  strenuous,  firm  in 
vows,  and  reverent,  they  worship  Me  with  love, 
always  devout. 

They  always  talk  of  Me,  .their  Lord,  the  very  Brahman. 
They  ever  strive  by  way  of  subjugating  the  senses,  by  way 
of  cultivating  the  virtues  of  self-control,  kindness,  innocence, 
and  the  like.  Firm  in  their  vows,  they  worship  Me  in  love, 
Me  who  am  their  very  Self  lying  in  the  heart. 

In  what  different  ways  do  they  worship  ? — Listen  : 

15.  Worshipping  by  the  wisdom-sacrifice,  others 
adnre  Me,  the  All-faced,  in  various  ways,  as  One, 
as  different. 

Knowledge  of  the  Lord  is  itself  a  sacrifice.  Worshipping 
by  this  sacrifice  of  wisdom,  others*  adore  Me,  having 
abandoned  all  other  forms  of  worship.  And  that  knowledge 
varies  thus  :-^Some  worship  with  the  knowledge  of  the  real 
truth  that  '  One,  verily,  is  the  Para-Brahman.'  Some 
worship  with  the  knowledge  that  the  Lord  Vish/m  Himself 
exists  as  different  beings,  as  the  sun,  the  moon  and  the  like. 
Others  worship  Him, — who  exists  in  all  forms — as  the  All- 
faced,  thinking  that  the  one  Lord  exists  in  all  the  different 
forms,  with  his  face  on  all  sides./ 

AH  worship  goes  to  the  Lord. 

If  they  worship  in  so  many  different  ways,  how  do  they 
(as  Thou  sayest)  worship  Thee  only  ? — The  Lord  says : 

*  The  Brahma-nishihas,  those  who  are  devoted  to  Brahman. 

13 — 18]       SOVEREIGN  WISDOM  AND  SECRET.         225 

i6.  I  am  kratii,  I  am  yajna,  I  am  svadha,  I  am 
aushadha,  I  am  ma»tra,  Myself  the  butter,  I  am 
fire,  I  the  act  of  offering. 

Kratti  is  a  class  of  Vedic  sacrifices.  Yajiia  is  the  worship 
enjoined  in  the  smnti.  Svadha  is  the  food  offered  to 
ancestors  (Pitns).  The  aushadha  means  plants  in  general, 
including  rice  and  barley,  eaten  by  all  living  beings. — 
Or,  svadha  is  food  in  general,  and  aushadha  is  the  medical 
( food )  serving  to  alleviate  sickness. — I  am  the  mantra, 
the  chant  with  which  the  oblation  is  offered  to  the  Pitns 
and  the  Devatas.  I  am  the  fire  into  which  the  offering  is 


17.  I  am  the  father  of  this  world,  the  mother, 
the  dispenser,  and  grandsire ;  I  am  the  knowable, 
the  purifier,  the  syllable  '  Om,'  and  also  the  T^ik, 
the  Saman,  and  the  Yajus  also. 

The  dispenser ;  of  the  fruits  of  action. 


18.  I  am  the  Goal,  the  Sustainer,  the  Lord, 
the  Witness,  the  Abode,  the  Shelter  and  the 
Friend,  the  Origin,  Dissolution  and  Stay ;  the 
Treasure-house,  the  Seed  imperishable. 

I  am  the  goal,  the  fruit  of  action I  am  the  witness  of  ] 

what  is  done  and  what  is  not  done  by  all  living  beings.     I 
am  the  abode  wherein  all  living  beings  dwell.     I  am  the 
shelter  for  the  distressed  ;  I  relieve  from  distress  those  who  / 
come  to  Me.     I  am  the  Friend :  I  do  good  without    ex-  \ 
pecting  any  return,     I  am  the  source  of  the  world.     I  am   ' 
that  in  which  it  is  dissolved,  and  that  in  which  it  stays.     I   \ 



am  the  treasure-house,  that  which  living  beings  shall  enjoy 
in  a  future  period.  I  am  the  imperishable  seed,  that  which 
causes  the  growth  of  all  things  that  germinate,  and  which 
endures  as  long  as  the  world  (  saw/sara )  endures.  /  Nothing 
indeed  springs  up  without  a  seed  ;  and  since  growth  is  con- 
stant, it  is  understood  that  continuity  of  the  seed  never  fails. 


ig.  I  give  heat,  I  hold  [back  and  send  forth 
rain,  I  am  the  immortality  as  well  as  death,  exist- 
ence and  non-existence,  O  Arjiina. 

As  the  sun  I  give  heat  by  some  powerful  rays ;  by  certain 
rays  I  send  forth  rain  ;  and  having  sent  it  forth  I  take  it 
back  by  certain  rays  during  eight  months,  and  again  send 
it  forth  in  the  rainy  season.  I  am  the  immortality  of  the 
gods  (devas)  and  the  death  of  the  mortals.  I  am  existence, 
(the  manifested,  the  effect),  which  manifests  itself  in  relation 
(to  the  cause) ;  and  I  am  the  reverse,  the  non-existence 
(the  unmanifested,  the  cause). — Indeed  the  Lord  can  never 
be  altogether  non-existent;  nor  (can  it  be  said )  that  the 
effect  is  existence  and  the  cause  is  non-existen^."'' 

The  fruits  of  interested  acts  of  Vedic  ritual. 

Those  men  of  wisdom  who  are  devoted  to  Me,  adoring 
Me  by  the  sacrifices  mentioned  above,  leading  lives  of 
Retirement  in  various  forms  described  above,  and  regarding 
Me  as  One  or  as  different, — they  reach  Myself  according  to 

*  The  manifested  world  of  effects  is  spoken  of  as  non-existence,  as  it  is  im- 
spoken  of  as  'existence'  and  the  un-  possible  to  conceive  existence  arising  out 
manifested  cause  as  'non-existence.  '  We  of  non-existence  ;  for  the  sruti  itself  says, 
cannot  indeed  hold  that  the  Divine  "  How  can  existence  come  out  of  non- 
essence  is  non-existence,  for  then  we  are  existence  ?  "  —  (Chhand.  Up.  6.) 
driven  to  nihilism;  nor  can  the  cause  be 

l8 — 22]       SOVEREIGN  WISDOM  AND  SECRET.         227 

their  knowledge.     But  as  regards  those  who  are  ignorant 
and  who  long  for  objects  of  desire, 

20.  Men  of  the  three  Vcdas,  the  soma-drinkers, 
purified  from  sin,  worshipping  Me  by  sacrifices, 
pray  for  the  goal  of  heaven  ;  they  reach  the  holy 
world  of  the  Lord  of  the  Gods  and  enjoy  in  heaven 
the  heavenly  pleasures  of  the  Gods. 

Men  who  know  the  three  Vedas,  the  R\k,  the  Saman  and 
the  Yajus  ;  who  drink  Soma  and  are  thereby  purified  from 
sins ;  who  worship  Me  as  the  Vasus  and  other  gods  by 
sacrifices  such  as  the  Agnish^oma ;  who  seek  for  Svarga  as 
the  reward  of  their  sacrifices  ; — they  go  to  the  world  of 
Indra  who  had  performed  a  hundred  sacrifices,  and  there 
enjoy  supernatural  (a-prakrita)  pleasures. 

21.  They,  having  enjoyed  that  spacious  world 
of  Svarga,  their  merit  (pu»ya)  exhausted,  enter  the 
world  of  the  mortals;  thus  following  the  Dharma 
of  the  Triad,  desiring  (objects  of)  desires,  they 
attain  to  the  state  of  going  and  returning. 

The  Dharma  of  the  Triad :  mere  Vedic  ritual  (karma)  that 
which  is  enjoined  by  the  three  Vedas.  They  have  to 
go  and  return,  and  never  attain  independence  anywhere. 

The  Supreme  watching  over  His  devotees'  interests. 

Now,  as  regards  those  men  of  right  knowledge  who  are 
free  from  desires, 

22.  Those  men  who,  meditating  on  Me  as  non- 
separate,  worship  Me  all  around, — to  them  who 
are  ever  devout,  I  secure  gain  and  safety. 

228  THE    BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS,    IX. 

I     Those  men  of  renunciation  (sa;;myasins)  who  worship  Me 

I  all  around,*  ever  meditating  on  Me,  regarding  themselves 

'as   non-separate, — i.e.,    looking   upon   the   Supreme   God, 

Narayana,  as  their  own  Self, — to  these  who  see  the  Reality, 

who   are  ever  devout,!  I   secure  gain.     I  secure  to  them 

i  what  is  not  already  possessed  ;  and  I  secure  to  them  safety, 

1  i.e.,  preservation  of  what  is  already  possessed. /As  said 

in  vii.  17,  18,  they  form   My  very  Self  and  are  dear  to  Me. 

[Objection): — To  other  devotees  also  the  Lord  secures 
gain  and  safety. 

[Answer) : — True,  He  undoubtedly  secures  (to  them  gain 
and  safety) ;  but  there  is  this  difference  :  while  other  devo- 
tees work  themselves  also  for  their  own  gain  and  safety, 
x^hose  who  see  nothing  as  separate  from  themselves  do  not 
work  for  their  own  gain  and  safety.  Indeed  these  latter 
never  cherish  a  desire  for  life  or  death  ;  the  Lord  alone  is 
their  refuge.  Wherefore  the  Lord  Himself  secures  to  them 
gain  and  safety.^ 

Other  devotees  do  but  worship  the  Supreme 
in  ignorance. 

[Objection)  : — If  other  gods   (Devatas)  are  Thyself  only, 
their  devotees  also  worship  Thyself. 

[Answer)  : — Just  so,  indeed  : 

23.  Even  those  who,  devoted  to  other  Gods, 
worship  Them  with  faith,  worship  Myself,  O  son 
of  Kunti,  in  ignorance. 


*  i.  e, ,  Who  see  Me    all  around,  as  +  Constantly  and  earnestly  engaged  in 

infinite,— (A. )  dhyana. 

22 — 25.1      SOVEREIGN  WISDOM  AND  SECRET.        22g 

With  faith:  believing  in  the  efficacy  (of  the  worship  of 
those  Gods). 

\\'hy  dost  Thou  say  that  they  worship  in  ignorance  ? — 

24.  I  am  indeed  the  Enjoyer,  as  also  the  Lord, 
of  all  sacrifices;  but  they  do  not  know  Me  in 
truth  ;  whence  they  fail. 

As  the  Devatii,--'  (i.  e.,  as  the  God  to  whom  sacrifices  are 
offered)  I  am  the  Enjoyer  and  the  Lord  of  all  sacrifices 
enjoined  in  the  sruti  and  the  smnti.  I  am  indeed  the  Lord 
of  yaJHa  or  sacrifice,  as  said  in  viii,  4.  So  they  do  not 
know  Me  as  I  am ;  whence,  having  worshipped  in  ig- 
norance, they  fail  to  attain  the  fruit  of  the  sacrifice.  + 

The  fruit  of  sacrifice  certainly  accrues  I  to  them  also 
who,  devoted  to  other  gods,  worship  Me  in  ignorance. — 
How  ?— 

25.  Votaries  of  the  Gods  go  to  the  Gods  ;  to 
the  Pitris  go  the  votaries  of  the  Pitris  ;  to  the 
Bhutas  go  the  worshippers  of  the  Bhutas ;  My 
worshippers  come  to  Myself. 

The  votaries  of  the  Gods,  those  whose  devotion  and 
vows  are  directed  to  the  Gods,  go  to  the  Gods.  The 
votaries  of  the  Pitns  such  as  the  Agnishvattas,  engaged  in 
performing  sraddha  and  other  rites  in  devotion  to  the  Pitns, 

*  As  the  Vasus  and  other  Devatas  to  region  to  which  they  attain  as  the  result 

whom  the  sacrifices  are  offered,  I  am  the  of  their  sacrifice. 

Enjoyer  of  all  sacrifices;  iind  as  the  Antar-  :  The  worship  of  the  Gods  is  not  quite 

yamin,  as    the   Inner  Regulator  of   the  useless.  The  worshippers  do  attain  results 

Universe,  I  am  the  Lord  of  all  sacrifices.  suited  to  the  form  of  worship,  but  they 

t  Not  having  dedicated  their  actions  to  have  to  return  to  this  world  after  a  time. 
Me,  they  return  to  this  world  from  the 

230  THE  bhagavad-gIta.  [Dis.  IX. 

go  to  the  Pitns.  The  Bhutas  are  the  Vinayakas,  the  hosts 
of  MatJ'is,  the  four  Bhaginis  and  the  Hke.  My  worshippers, 
i.e.,  Vish?m's  votaries,  come  to  Myself.  Notwithstanding 
the  equahty  of'  trouble,  people  do  not  worship  Me  alone, 
because  of  their  ignorance.  Wherefore  they  attain  very 
small  results. 

Facility  in    Devotion  to  the  Supreme. 

Not  only  do  My  devotees  attain  an  endless  result,  i.  e., 
attain  a  state  from  which  there  is  no  return  to  this  world, 
but  it  is  also  easy  for  them  to  worship  Me. — How  ? — 

26.  When  one  offers  to  Me  with  devotion  a 
leaf,  a  flower,  a  fruit,  water, — that  I  eat,  offered 
with  devotion  by  the  pure-minded. 

Because  it  is  co,  therefore, 

27.  Whatever  thou  doest,  whatever  thou  eatest, 
whatever  thou  sacrificest,  whatever  thou  givest,  in 
whatever  austerity  thou  engagest,  do  it  as  an 
offering  to  Me. 

Whatever  thou  doest  of  thy  own  accord  [i.e.,  not  enjoined 
in  the  sistra)  and  whatever  thou  offerest  in  sacrifice  as 
enjoined  in  the  sruti  or  the  smriti,  whatever  thou  givest — 
such  things  as  gold — to  the  brahma7?as  and  others,  all 
that  as  an  offering  to  Me. 

Now  listen  as  to  what  will  accrue  to  you  doing  thus : 

28.  Thus  shalt  thou  be  liberated  from  the  bonds 
of  actions  which  are  productive  of  good  and 
evil  results ;  equipped  in  mind  with  the  Yoga  of 
renunciation,  and  liberated,  thou  shalt  come  to  Me. 

25 — 29.]      SOVEREIGN  WISDOM  AND  SECRET.         23 1 

Thus  :  when  you  thus  offer  everything  to  Me.  This  (act  of 
ofTering  everything  to  Me)  constitutes  the  Yoga  of  renun- 
ciation. It  is  renunciation  inasmuch  as  everything  is  off'ered 
to  Me  ;  and  It  is  also  Yoga  inasmuch  as  it  is  an  action 
(karma).  Thus,  wath  mind  equipped  with  Yoga  and  renun- 
ciation, thou  shalt  be  liberated  from  bonds  while  yet  living  ; 
and  when  this  body  is  dead,  thou  shalt  come  to  Me. 

The  impartiality  of  the  Supreme. 

(Objection)  : — Then  the  Lord  has  love  and  hatred,  since 
He  b)estows  His  grace  on  His  devotees,  not  on  others. 

(Ansiiey)  : — Not  so  : 

29.  The  same  I  am  to  all  beings  ;  to  Me  there 
is  none  hateful  or  dear ;  but  whoso  worship  Me 
with  devotion,  they  are  in  Me,  and  I  am  also  in 

I  am  like  fire  :  just  as  fire  does  not  ward  off" cold  from  those 
who  are  at  a  distance  and  wards  it  off"  from  those  who 
go  near  it,  so  I  bestow  My  grace  on  My  devotees,  not  on 
others.  Those  who  worship  Me,  the  Lord,  with  devotion  are 
in  Me,  as  a  matter  of  course,  but  not  owing  to  any  attach- 
ment on  My  part.  In  them  also  I  am,  only  as  a  matter  of 
course,  not  in  others.  By  this  behaviour,  I  cannot  (be  said 
to)  hate  the  latter.  '•' 

'  Those     who    are    devoted    to    Me,  where,  is    reflected  in  a  clean  mirror,  so 

performing  the  duties  of  their  caste  and  also  is  the   Supreme  .  Lord  present    as  a 

order,  become  pure  in  mind,  in  virtue  of  matter  of  course  in  those   persons   only 

that  very  devotion  of  unthinkable  grand-  from  whose  minds   all  dirt  has  been   re- 

eur  ;  and  they  are  in  Me,  i.  c,  their  minds  moved   by  devotion.    It  has  been    said  in 

are  rendered  fit  for  My  presence.    And,  ix.  13  that  those  are  devoted  to  the  Lord, 

bjing  in  their    presence    as  a  matter  of  who  partake  of  the    nature  of  the  devas. 

course,  I  ever  do  good  to  them.  Just  as  — (A) 
hj  Sun's  light,  though  pervading  ever  y- 

232  THE  BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DlS.    IX. 

Even  the  Iow=born  attain  salvation  by  Devotion. 

Now  I    shall    tell   you   how  excellent  a  thing  devotion 
to  Me  is  : 

30.  If  one  of  even  very  evil  life  worships  Me, 
resorting  to  none  else,  he  must  indeed  be  deemed 
righteous,  for  he  is  rightly  resolved. 

He  is  rightly  resolved  :  he  is  a  man  of  good  resolution. 

By  abandoning  evil  ways  in  his  external  life,  and  by  the 
power  of  his  internal  right  resolution, 

31.  Soon  he  becomes  righteous  and  attains 
eternal  peace  ;  do  thou,  O  son  of  Kunti,  proclaim 
that  My  devotee  never  perishes. 

Listen,  this  is  the  real  truth :  thou  mayest  proclaim  that 
He  who  is  devoted  to  Me  in  his  inner  soul  never  perishes. 

32.  For,  finding  refuge  in  Me,  they  also  who, 
O  son  of  Pritha,  may  be  of  a  sinful  birth — women, 
vaisyas  as  well  as  siidras, — even  they  attain  to  the 
Supreme  Goal. 

The  Yoga  of  Devotion. 

33.  How  much  more  then  the  holy  brahma»as 
and  devoted  royal  saints.  Having  reached  this 
transient  joyless  world,  do  thou  worship  Me. 

Holy :    of  pure  birth.     This   world :    the   world   of  man, 
human   birth  *  which  is  the   means    of  attaining   spiritual 

«  As  non-human  bodies  such  as  those       human  birth  should  lead  a  life  of  devotion 
of  animals  are  not  fit  for  a  life  of  devotion       to  the  Lord, 
to  the  Lord,  those  who  have  attained  to 


30 — 34']  SOVEREIGN   WISDOM   AND   SECRET.  233 

aspirations  (purushartha),  and  which  is  very  hard  to  attain. 

34.  Fix  thy  mind  on  Me,  be  devoted  to  Me, 
sacrifice  to  Me,  bow  down  to  Me.  Thus  steadied, 
with  Me  as  thy  Supreme  Goal,  thou  shalt  reach 
Myself,  the  Self. 

Me :  Vasudeva.     Steadied  :  in  thought  (chitta).     I  am  the 
Self  of  all  beings,  and  I  am  the  Supreme  goal. 




The  Lord  is  the  source  of  all  manifestations. 

In  the  seventh  discourse  and  in  the  ninth,  the  essential 
nature  of  the  Lord  and  His  manifestations  have  been  pointed 
out.  Now  it  is  necessary  to  point  out  in  what  forms  of 
being  the  Lord  should  be  thought  of;  and  it  is  also  necessary 
to  describe  the  essential  nature  of  the  Lord, — though  it  has 
been  described  already, — as  it  is  a  hard  thing  to  under- 
stand.    With   this  view,  the  Lord  says  : 

The  Blessed  Lord  said  : 

1.  Again,  O  mighty-armed,  listen  to  My  Supreme 
word,  which  I,  from  a  desire  for  thy  well-being, 
shall  speak  to  thee  who  art  delighted. 

Supreme :  as  revealing  the  unsurpassed  Thing.  Delighted : 
you  are  intensely  delighted  with  My  speech,  as  though  you 
are  drinking  the  immortal  nectar. 

Why  should  He  speak  of  it  ? — The  Lord  says  : 

2.  Neither  the  hosts  of  the  Gods  nor  the  Great 
i^ishis  know  my  origin ;  for  I  am  the  source  of  all 
the  Gods  and  the  Great  i^ishis. 

Prabhava  (interpreted  as  oyigin)  may  also  mean  "  Great 
Lordly  Power."  Rishis  :  such  as  BhHgu. 



3.  He  who  knows  Me  as  unborn  and  beginning- 
less,  as  the  great  Lord  of  the  worlds,  he  among 
mortals  is  undeluded,  he  is  liberated  from  all  sins. 

Because  I  am  the  source  of  the  Gods  and  the  Great 
i^ishis,  none  else  exists  as  the  source  of  My  existence ; 
wherefore,  I  am  unborn  and  beginningless.  Because  I  am 
beginningless,  therefore  I  am  unborn.  Undeluded:  devoid 
of  delusion.  All  sins:  consciously  or  unconsciously  incurred. 

For  the  following  reason  also  I  am  the  great  Lord  of  the 
worlds  : 

4-5.  Intelligence,  wisdom,  non-illusion,  patience, 
truth,  self-restraint,  calmness,  pleasure,  pain,  birth, 
death,  fear,  and  security  ;  innocence,  equanimity, 
contentment,  austerity,  beneficence,  fame,  shame  ; 
( these  )  different  kinds  of  dispositions  of  beings 
arise  from  Me  alone. 

Intelligence  (buddhi)  is  the  power  which  the  inner  sense 
(  anta/f-karawa )  has  of  understanding  subtle  objects  of 
thought.  He,  indeed,  is  said  to  be  intelligent  who  is 
possessed  of  this  power.  Wisdom  is  the  knowledge  of  the 
Self  and  other  such  things.  Non-illusion  consists  in  acting 
with  discrimination  when  any  thing  has  to  be  done  or 
known  at  the  moment.  Patience :  not  being  agitated  in 
mind  when  assaulted  or  abused.  Truth  :  giving  utterance 
to  one's  own  actual  experience  of  things,  as  heard  or  seen, 
with  a  view  to  impress  it  on  the  mind  of  another.  Self- 
nstraint:  quieting  the  external  senses.  Calmness:  the  tran- 
quillity of  the  inner  sense  or  anta/;-kara«a Innocence:  not 

injuring   living   beings.     Contentment :  being   satisfied  with 

236  THE    BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.     X' 

one's  present  acquisitions.  Atisterity:  bodily  torture  accom- 
panied with  the  restraint  of  the  senses.  Benejicence :  sharing 
(one's  own  things)  with  others  as  far  as  one's  own  means 
may  permit.  Fame :  due  to  dharma.  Shame  :  due  to  a- 
dharma.  All  these  different  dispositions  of  living  beings 
mentioned  above,  such  as  intelligence,  arise  from  Me  alone, 
the  Lord  (Isvara),  according  to  their  respective  karma. 

6.  The  seven  Great  i^ishis  as  well  as  the  four 
ancient  Manus,  with  their  being  in  Me,  were  born 
of  mind  ;  and  theirs  are  these  creatures  in  the 

The  seven  great  /^ishis  such  as  Bhngu,  as  well  as  the 
four  Manus  of  the  past  ages  known  as  Savarwas,  had  directed 
their  thoughts  to  Me  exclusively  and  were  therefore  endow- 
ed with  the  power  ot  Vish^m.  They  were  produced  by  Me 
by  mind  alone.  Born  in  the  creation  of  these  Manus  and 
of  the  Great  i?ishis  are  these  creatures  comprising  the 
moving  and  the  unmoving  beings.* 

Knowledge  of  the  Lord's   Glory  conduces  to  Yoga. 

7.  He  who  knows  in  truth  this  glory  and  power 
of  Mine  is  endowed  with  unshaken  Yoga  ;  there  is 
no  doubt  of  it. 

*  The  Lord  is  not  only  the  material  Lords.  Both  these  belonged  to  the  pri- 

cause  (  prakriti )  of  all,  but,  as  the  Omni-  meval  age  and  were  born  of  the  mind  of 

sclent  Lord  of  all.  He  is  also  the  Ruler  the  Lord.  The    Great    ifishis    and    the 

of  all ,  for  He  produced  the  Great  Tfishis  Manus  had  their  thought   directed  to  the 

and  the  Manus.    The   Great  iJishis,  from  Omniscient  Lord  and  were  therefore  en- 

Bhcigu    to   Vasish/ha,    were  omniscient  dowed  with  the  power    of   Vishou  and 

and  were  the  original  teachers  of  the  Tra-  obtained  wisdom  and  power.  The  present 

ditional   wisdom.    The    Manus  were  the  denizens  of  this  world  are  their  creatures, 

Rulers  of  creatures  and  were  themselves  by  birth  and  by  knowledge.— (A.) 


He  who  knows  in  truth  this  vast  extent  of  My  being  * 
and  My  achievement  (Yoga) — or  Yoga  may  here  stand  for 
what  is  born  of  Yoga,  viz.,  the  power  of  achieving  and 
controlling  mighty  things  as  well  as  Omniscience  t — he  is 
endowed  with  unshaken  Yoga,  i.  c,  with  steadiness  in  right 
knowledge.  :J 

What  is  that  unshaken  Yoga  with  which  they  are  en- 
dowed ? — The  answer  follows  : 

8.  I  am  the  source  of  all ;  from  Me  everything 
evolves  ;  thus  thinking  the  wise  worship  Me,  en- 
dowed with  contemplation. 

I,  the  Supreme  Brahman,  termed  V^sudeva,  am  the 
source  of  the  whole  world.  From  Me  j  alone  evolves  the 
whole  universe  in  all  its  changes,  including  existence  and 
disappearance,  action,  effect  and  enjoyment.  Thus  think- 
ing, the  wise  who  know  the  Supreme  Reality*^  worship  Me, 
ardently  engaged  in  the  contemplation  of  the  Supreme 


g.  With  their  thought  on  Me,  with  their  life 
absorbed  in  Mc,  instructing  each  other,  and  ever 
speaking  of  Me,  they  are  content  and  delighted. 

*  He  who  knows  Me  as  infinite. —  (A.)       the  Inner   Regulator,  every  thing  moves 
+  ,-.  e. ,  he  who  knows  the  fact  that  the       °"  '"  accordance  with  the  Law.  -  (A. ) 
Great  ieishis  and   the    Manns  possessed  Hit 'S  only  those  who  see  the  emptiness 

their  power  and  wisdom,  as  partaking  of  f/jhc^vorldly  life  that  are  fit  for  a  life  of 
a  very  small  portion  of  the  Lord's  devotion  to  the  Lord.  When  men  know 
power  and  wisdom .  -  (A. )  '^^  Lord  as  the  Self  of  all,  the  Cause  of 

all,  the  Omniscient  Lord  of  all,  they  be- 
come devoted  to  Me.  The  knowledge  of 
the  Supreme  Reality  leads  to  love,  regard 
and  earnestness,  and  these  lead  to  devo- 
§  Controlled  and  impelled    by  Me  as      tion  to  the  Lord.  —  (A  . ) 

t  The  knowledge  of  the  Conditioned  is 
the  doorway  leading  to  the  knowledge 
of  the  Unconditioned. —  (A.) 

238  THE  BHAGAVAD-GlTA.  [DiS.    X. 

All  their  senses  (pnwas)  such  as  the  eye  are  absorbed  in 
Me.  Or — according  to  another  interpretation — their  very 
life  (prana)  is  devoted  to  Me.  They  ever  speak  of  Me  as 
possessed  of  supreme  wisdom,  power,  might  and  other 
qualities.  They  thus  obtain  satisfaction  and  are  delighted 
as  if  in  the  company  of  the  beloved. 

The  Lord  endows  His  devotees  with  wisdom. 

As  to  those  who  worship  Me  devoutly  in  the  ways  men- 
tioned above, 

10.  To  these,  ever  devout,  worshipping  Me 
with  love,  I  give  that  devotion  of  knowledge  by 
which  they  come  to  Me. 

To  them  who  are  ever  devout,  worshipping  Me,  not  for 
any  purpose  of  their  o'vn,  but  out  of  love  for  Me, — to  them 
I  give  that  devotion  of  right  knowledge  (buddhi-yoga)  0/ 
My  essential  nature  by  which  they  =■'— those  who  worship 
Me  "  with  their  thought  on  Me"  (x.  9)  and  so  on — kno\v^Me, 
the  Supreme  Lord,  the  Self,  as  their  own  Self. 

Why  doest  Thou  give  the  devotion  of  knowledge  (buddhi- 
yoga)  to  Thy  devotees  ? — And  what  is  that  obstacle  in  the 
path  leading  to  Thee  which  the  devotion  of  knowledge  that 
Thou  givest  to  Thy  devotees  serves  to  remove  ? — In  answer 
to  this  question,  the  Lord  says  : 

11.  Out  of  mere  compassion  for  them,  I,  abid- 
ing in  their  self,  destroy  the  darkness  born  of 
ignorance,  by  the  luminous  lamp  of  wisdom. 

*  Those  alone  who  are  thus  devoted  to  karana  produced  by  Dhyiina,  by  which 
the  Lord  can  attain  to  Buddhi-Yoga,  that  they  reach  that  form  of  the  Lord  which  is 
extremely  superior  condition  of  the  antn  h-       devoid  of  all  limitations.  —  (A. ) 

g — 13.]  DIVINE    MANIFESTATIONS.  239 

/Out  of  men  compassion  :  out  of  mercy,  anxious  as  to  how 
they  may  attain  bliss.  I  dwell  in  their  anta/i-lvara«a''=  which 
is  engaged,  in  thinking  exclusively  of  the  Self  and  destroy 
the  darkness  of  ignorance, — that  illusory  knowledge  which  is 
caused  by  the  absence  of  discrimination, — by  the  lamp  of 
wisdom,  by  the  lamp  of  discriminatory  knowledge,  fed  by 
the  oil  of  pure  Devotion  (Bhakti-prasiYda),  fanned  by  the 
wind  of  earnest  meditation  on  Me,  furnished  with  the  wick 
of  right  intuition  purified  by  the  cultivation  of  piety,  chasti- 
ty and  other  virtues,  held  in  the  anta/i-kara«a  which  is  com-  \ 
pletely  detached  from  all  worldly  concerns,  placed  in  the  \ 
wind-sheltered  enclosure  of  the  mind  which  is  withdrawn  | 
from  the  sense-objects  and  untainted  by  attachment  and 
aversion,  and  shining  with  the  light  of  right  knowledge 
generated  by  incessant  practice  of  concentration  and 
meditation.  / 

Arjuna's   question  about  the  Lord's    manifestations. 

Having  heard  of  the    Lord's  Glory  and   His  mysterious 
power,  Arjuna  says  : 

Arjuna  said  : 
12-13.     The  Supreme    Brahman,  the    Supreme 
Light,  the  Supreme   Purifier  art   Thou.     All  the 

*  i- e.,  ill  the  anta/i-karaHa  functioning  an  Intellectual   state  that  is  found  to  illu- 

on  the  plane  of  Spirit  exclusively.  Dark-  mine  an  object  unknown  before.  Hence 

ness  here  includes  both  the  beginningless  it  is  that  the  Spirit  removes  ignorance  by 

nescience  and    the     illusory    perception  itself  shining  through  a  state  of  the  intel- 

resuliing  from  that  nescience.    It  cannot  lect  such  as  the  one  induced  by  the  teach- 

be  removed  by  matter  or  any  material  ing  of  the  5astra.^It  is  either   the  Spirit 

phenomenon,  belonging  as  it  does  to  the  manifesting  itself  through  an  intellectual 

same    class  as    darkness;  therefore    the  state,  or  an   intellectual   state    pervaded 

Lord  has  said  that  He  Himself  destroys  by  the  Spirit,  that  can  destroy  nescienc«3 

darkness.  But  the  Spirit  (Chaitanya)  can-  and  illusory  knowledge, 
not  directly  remove  darkness.  It  is  only 

240  THE    BHAGAVAD-GJTA.  [DiS.  X. 

i^ishis  declare  Thee  as  Eternal,  Divine  Purusha, 
the  Primal  God,  Unborn,  Omnipresent  ;  so  said 
the  divine  sage  Narada,  as  also  Asita,  Devala  and 
Vyasa  ;  and  Thou  Thyself  also  sayest  (so)  to  me. 

The  Supreme  Brahman',  the  Highest  Self.  The  Primal 
God  :  the  God  who  existed  before  all  other  Gods.  Rishis  : 
such  as  Vasish^ha. 

14.  I  believe  to  be  true  all  this  which  Thou 
sayest  to  me  ;  for  neither  the  Gods  nor  the  Dana- 
vas,  O  Lord,  know  Thy  manifestation. 

Because  Thou  art  the  source  of  the  Devas  and  others, 

15.  Thou  Thyself  knowest  Thyself  as  the  Self,* 
O  Purusha  Supreme,  O  Source  of  beings,  O  Lord 
of  beings,  O  God  of  Gods,  O  Ruler  of  the  world. 

Knowest  Thyself:  as  the  .Lord,t  as  the  Is  vara  possessed 
of  unsurpassed  wisdom,  sovereignty  and  other  powers. 

16.  Thou  shouldstt  indeed  tell,  without  reserve, 
of  Thy  divine  Glories,  by  which  Glories  Thou 
remainest  pervading  all  these  worlds. 

17.  How§  shall  I,  ever  meditating,  know  Thee, 
O  Yogin;  in  what  several  things,  O  Lord,  art  Thou 
to  be  thought  of  by  Me  ? 

*  Thou    Thyself,  i.  e  ,   without     being  +  Since  Thy  nature,  which  it  is  necess- 

taught  ;  knowest  Thyself,  i.  e.  the  uncondi-  ary  to  t;now,  is  invisible  to  others.  (A.) 
tioned   nature  of  Thyself.    As   the  Self:  §  In  what  manner   should    I,   who  am  \ 

not  as  something  external.  —(A. )  of  dull  understanding,  meditate  constant- 

+  Not  even  Thy  conditioned  nature  as  ly  on  Thee,  in  order  that  my  reason  may 

the   Lord   of  the   Universe,  Scd  ,  can  be  thereby  be  purified  so   as  to   be    able  to 

seen  by  others.  —  (A. )  know  Thy  unconditioned  being:  —  (A. ) 

12 — 20.]  DIVINE    MANU'ESTATIONS.  24I 

18.  Tell  mc  afjain  in  detail,  O  Janardana,  of 
Thy  power  and  Glory,  for  there  is  no  satiety  for 
me  in  hearing  the  immortal. 

Tell  me  in  detail  of  Thy  mysterious  power  (Yoga)  and 
sovereignty  (aisvarya)  and  the  various  things  to  be  meditat- 
ed upon. — Janardana  is  so  called  because  He  sends — or 
causes  to  go  (ardayati) — the  Asuras,  those  people  (janas)  who 
are  the  enemies  of  the  Gods,  to  hell  and  the  like  ;  or  be- 
cause He  is  prayed  to  by  all  people  for  worldly  success  and 
salvation. — Tell  me  again  of  them,  though  described  be- 
fore ;  for,  there  is  no  satiety  in  hearing  the  immortal 
(ambrosia)  of  the  speech  issuing  from  Thy  mouth. 

The  Lord's  enumeration  of  His  manifestations. 

The  Blessed  Lord  said  : 
ig.  Now  will  I  tell  thee  of  My  heavenly  Glories, 
in  their   prominence,  O  best   of  the   Kurus;  there 
is  no  limit  to  My  extent. 

Now  I  will  tell  you  of  My  heavenly  Glories,  in  their  pro- 
minence, i.  e.,  where  they  are  severally  the  most  prominent. 
It  is  not,  indeed,  possible  even  in  a  whole  century  to  describe 
all  of  them,  as  there  is  no  limit  to  the  extent  of  My  Glories. 

Now,  listen  to  this,  in  the  first  place : 

20.  I  am  the  Self,  O  Guc^akesa,  seated  in  the 
heart  of  all  beings;  I  am  the  beginning  and  the 
middle,  as  also  the  end,  of  all  beings. 

You  should  think  of  Me  as  the  innermost  Self,  seated  in 
the  heart  within  of  all  beings.  —  'Guddkesa'  means  either 
'  conqueror  of  sleep  '  or  '  thick-haired  '  —  He  who  is  unable 
to  think  of   Me  as  the   Self   should   think  of  Me  in   those 


242  THE  BHAGAVAD-GiTA.  [DiS.  X« 

things  which  are  mentioned  below  ;  for  I  am  the  source,  the 
stay,  and  the  end  of  all  beings. 

21.  Of  the  Adityas  I  am  Vish«u  ;  of  the  radi- 
ances, the  resplendent  Sun ;  I  am  Marichi  of  the 
Maruts;   of  theasterisms,  the  Moon. 

Of  the  twelve  Adityas,  I  am  the  Aditj^a  known  as  Vishnu. 
Maruts  are  a  kind  of  Devatas. 

22.  Of  the  Vedas  I  am  the  Sama-Veda,  I  am 
Vasava  of  the  Gods,  and  of  the  senses  I  am  the 
mind,  I  am  the  intelligence  in  living  beings. 

Gods  :  such  as  the  Rudras  and  the  Adityas.  Vasava:  i.e., 
Indra.  Of  the  eleven  senses  I  am  the  mind.  Chetana,  senti- 
ency  or  intelligence,  is  that  state  of  '■'  the  intellect  (buddhi) 
which  manifests  itself  in  the  aggregate  of  the  body  and  the 

23.  And  of  the  Rudras  I  am  Sawkara,  of  the 
Yakshas  and  Rakshasas  the  Lord  of  wealth,  and 
of  the  Vasus  I  am  Agni,  of  the  mountains  I  am  the 

The  Rudras  are  eleven  in  number,  and  the  Vasus  eight. 
The  Lord  of  ivealth  :   Kubera. 

24.  And  of  the  household  priests  of  kings,  O 
son  of  P/'itha,  know  Me  the  chief  one,  Brihaspati  ; 
of  generals  I  am  Skanda,  of  lakes  I  am  the  Ocean. 

Byihaspati  is  the  chief  of  priests,  because  he  is  the  house- 
hold priest  of  Indra.  Skanda  is  the  general  of  the  Gods.    Of 

•^   It   exhibits  itself  in    the    aggregate       tation   of   the     Spirit    or   Consciousness 
body,  pervading  it  throughout  till  death.       (Chaitanya.),  —  (A. ) 
and  forming  the  medium  for  the  manifes- 

20 — 28]  DIVINE    MANIFESTATION'S.  243 

the  natural — i.e.,  made  by  the  Gods — reservoirs,  I  am  the 

25.  Of  the  Great  /^ishis  I  am  Bhrigu  ;  of  words 
I  am  the  one  syllable  '  Om  ;'  of  offerinp^s  I  am  the 
offerin°j  of  Japa  (silent  repetition),  of  unmovin<:j 
things  the  Himalaya. 

26.  Of  all  trees  (I  am)  the  Asvattha,  and  Narada 
of  divine  i^ishis,  Chitraratha  of  Gandharvas,  the 
Sage  Kapila  of  the  Saints  (Siddhas\ 

Divine  Rishis  :  Who  are  Devas  and  are  eft  the  same  time 
i^ishis  or  seers  of  mantras.  The  Saints  (Siddhas) :  those 
who  at  their  very  birth  attained  to  a  very  high  degree  of 
Dharma,  of  knowledge,  of  detachment  (  vairagya  )  from 
worldly  concerns,  and  of  supremacy. 

27.  Know  Me  among  horses  as  Uchchais- 
sravas,  born  of  Amrita,  of  lordly  elephants  the 
Airavata,  and  of  men  the  king. 

Uchchais-sravas  is  the  name  of  the  kingly  horse,  who  was 
born  in  the  ocean  when  it  was  churned  for  the  amrita 
(ambrosia).  Know  Me  among  kingly  elephants  as  the 
Airavata,  the  offspring  of  Iravati. 

28.  Of  weapons  I  am  the  thunderbolt,  of  cows 
I  am  the  Kamadhuk,  I  am  the  progenitor  Kan- 
darpa,   of  serpents    I   am   Vasnki. 

The  thunderbolt  :  the  Vajra  made  of  Dadhichi's  bone. 
Kamadhuk  :  that  cow  of  Vasish^ha  which  yielded  all  objects 
desired ;  or  any  cow  in  general  which  may  yield  plenty  of 
milk.  Kandarpa  :  Kama  or  love.   Vdsuki  :  the  lord  of  serpents. 

29.  And  Ananta  of  snakes  I  am,  I  am  Varu;/a 



of  water-beings,  and  Aryaman  of  Pitris  I  am,  I  am 

Yama  of  controllers. 

Ananta  :  the  king  of  snakes.  Vavnna  :  the  king  of  water- 
f^ods.  Water-heinss :  the  Devatas  or  Gods  connected  with 
waters.     Aryaman  is  the  king  of  Pit?'is. 

30.  And  Prahlada  am  I  of  Diti's  progeny,  of 
reckoners  I  am  Time,  and  of  beasts  I  am  the  lord 
of  beasts,  and  Vainateya  of  birds. 

The  lord  of  beasts :  the  lion  or  the  tiger.  Vainateya  :  Vinata's 
son,  Garutmat. 

31.  Of  purifiers  I  am  the  wind,  Rama  of  warriors 
am  I,  of  fishes  I  am  the  shark,  of  streams  I  am  the 

Of  those  who  bear  weapons  I  am  Rama,  Dasaratha's  son. 

32.  Of  creations  I  am  the  beginning  and  the 
middle  and  also  the  end  ;  of  all  knowledges  I  am 
the  knowledge  of  the  Self,  and  Vada  of  disputants. 

I  am  the  source,  the  stay  and  the  end  of  all  evolution. — 
At  the  commencement  (x.  20)  it  was  said  that  He  is  the 
beginning,  the  middle,  and  the  end  of  all  sentient  existence  ; 
but  here  the  whole  creation  in  general  is  referred  to.  The 
knowledge  of  the  Self  is  the  chief  among  all  knowledges, 
because  it  leads  to  moksha.  By  '  disputants '  we  should 
here  understand  the  several  kinds  of  disputation, — vada, 
jalpa,  vita7jia,"  &c.  Vada  is  the  chief  of  them,  as  it  is  a 
means  of  determining  truth. 

*  '  I'ii(/rt    is  that   way    of  arguing,   of  of  his  adversary  by  overbearing  reply  or 

which  the  object  is  to  arrive  at  truth  re-  wrangling  rejoinder.  '  Vitandii '  consists 

girding  a  certain  question.  'Jalpa'  is  an  in  idly  carping  at  the  arguments  or  asser- 

argument  in  which  a  disputant  tries  to  tions  of  another  without    attempting    to 

assert  his  own  opinion  and  to  refute  that  establish  the  opposite  side  of  the  question 

29^3^-]  DIVINE    MANIFESTATIONS.  245 

Z3-  Of  letters  the  letter  'A'  am  I,    and  dvandva 
of  all    compounds;  I  am,  verily,  the  inexhaustible 
Time ;  I  am  the  All-faced  Dispenser. 
*  Time'  here  refers  either  to  what  is  generally  so  called, — 
viz.,  '  ksha;/a,'  a  moment,  the  ultimate  element  of  time, — or 
to  the  Supreme  Lord  who  is  the  Time  (Kala=the  Measurer) 
even  of  time.     I  am  the  Dispenser  of  results   of  actions  to 
the  whole  world. 

34.  And  I  am  all-seizing^  Death,  and  the  pros- 
perity of  those  who  are  to  be  prosperous  ;  of  the 
feminine  (I  am)  Fame,  Fortune  and  Speech,  Me- 
mory, Intelligence,  Constancy,   Endurance. 

Death  is  of  two  sorts,  he  who  seizes  wealth,  etc.,  and  he 
who  seizes  life.  Of  them  the  seizer  of  life  is  the  all-seizer. 
I  am  He.  Or,  I  am  the  Supreme  Lord  who  is  the  All-seizer, 
because  of  His  carrying  all  away  at  the  time  of  pralaya  or 
dissolution.  I  am  the  prosperity — and  the  means  of  attain- 
ing it — of  those  who  are  to  be  prosperous  in  future,  who 
are  fit  to  attain  prosperity.  I  am  Fame,  &c.,  the  best  of 
the  feminine;  and  possessed  of  the  mere  semblance  thereof, 
people  regard  themselves  successful  in  life. 

35.  Of  Samans  also  I  am  the  Brihat-Saman,  of 
metres  Gayatri  am  I,  of  months  I  am  Margasirsha, 
of  seasons  the  flowery  season. 

'  Brihat-Saman  '  is  the  chief  of  the  Samans.  Of  the  Riks, 
composed  in  Gayatri  and  other  metres,  I  am  the  Gayatri 
Rik.    The  flowery  season  is  what  is  called  Vasanta,  the  spring. 

36.  I  am  the  gambling  of  the  fraudulent,  I  am 
the  splendour  of  the  splendid,  I  am  victory,  I  am 
effort,  I  am  the  goodness  of  the  good. 

2^f^  riiK  nnAOAVAnotTA.  fDis.  X. 

(tafMhlin^:  surli  ;\s  dice-play.  1  am  ilu>  victory  of  the 
victorious;   I  i\\\\  the  clYort  of  tliosc  who  make  an  ctTort. 

37.  Of  tl\c  V/ishMJs  1  .uu  N'nsmlova.  of  the 
rAni/avas  1  .mi  Phanat\jaya.  anil  of  tlic  saints 
1  am  \"yAsa,  of  tlio  saj^cs  1  ,un  UsanAs  tl\o  sai;c. 

I'llofM*/*'*'.! :  Myself,  who  am  yoiu  fiicml.  I'tishnis:  the 
ilosctMulants  of  VaiUi.  The  saints  :  those  whv>  aie  en^rosseU 
in  meditation  and  know  all  thinj;s.  vS\j,y5  :  iliosc>  o{  extens- 
ive knowledj;e,  the  omniscient  beings. 

jS,  Ot  punishcrs  1  am  the  sceptre,  oi'  those 
who  sock  to  con^luc^  1  au\  the  polity,  auvl  o(  thinj^s 
secret  1  am  alsi^  silence,  the  knowlcdj;e  o{  kni>\vcrs 
.u>\  1. 

30.  \n\  what  is  tl\e  seed  of  all  l>eini;s,  that 
also  am  I.  O  Arjima.  There  is  no  beini;.  whether 
movinj;  or  unmoviui;.  that  can  exist  without  me. 

To  conclude  the  present  section,  the  Lotd  summarises 
His  Glory  (vibhv^ti)  as  follows: — There  is  no  beini^  without 
Me ;  for,  anything  into  which  I  ha\  e  not  entered  would  be 

!  without   Self  (could  not  exist)  auvl  wv>uld  be  void   (siinya). 

.Wherefore,  everything    is   of    My    nature,  (i.**.,   1    am  the 

\  essence  of  everything)y' 

40.  There  is  no  end  of  My  heavenly  Glories,  O 
harasser  ot  thy  foes:  but  the  details  of  My  <.«lory 
have  been  declared  only  by  \\a\  of  instance. 

It  is  indeeti  not  possible  for  anybody  to  describe  or  know 
the  exact  extent  of  the  Pivine  Glories  of  the  Lord,  the  Self 
of  all. 

30^42-]  DIVINE    MAMFEbTATIOKS.  247 

Divine  Olory  de/M:ribed  in  brief 

42.      Whatever  being  is  {glorious,  prosperous,  or 
stronj(,  that  know  thou  to  be  a   manifestation  of  a 
part  of  My  Splendour. 
My :  the  Lsvara's. 

42.  15  Jt,  of  what  avail  to  thcc  is  this  vast  thing 
being  known,  O  Arjuna?  I  stand  sustaining  this 
whole  world  by  one  part  (of  Myselfj. 

Of  what  avail  to  you  can  be  this  knowledge  of  vast  but 
imperfect  details  ?  Listen,  I  will  tell  you  completely  of  it. 
I  stand  sustaining  firmly  this  whole  world  by  one  part,  by 
one  limb,  by  one  foot ;  i.  e.,  one  part  of  Myself  constitutes 
all  Ixjings.  So  says  the  chant : 

•All  beings  form  His  foot.' — (TaiUiriya  Aranyaha,  3-12). 


Arjuna's  prayer  for  a  vision  of  the 
Universal  Form. 

The  Glories  of  the  Lord  have  been  described.  Now,  on 
hearing  the  Lord's  statement  that  '  I  stand  supporting  the 
whole  world  by  one  part  of  Myself,'  Arjuna  was  desirous  to 
see  with  his  ow^n  eyes  that  Primal  Form  of  the  Lord  which 
is  manifested  as  the  universe,  and  accordingly  said  : 

Arjuna  said  : 

1.  By  that  speech  which  has  been  delivered  by 
Thee  for  my  benefit, — that  highest  secret  which 
is  called  Adhyatma, — this,  my  delusion,   is   gone. 

Adhydtma  :  that  which  treats  of  the  distinction  between 
the  Self  and  the  non-Self.     Delusion:  non-discrimination. 


2.  The  origin  and  the  dissolution  of  beings,  veri- 
ly, have  been  heard  by  me  in  detail  from  Thee,  O 
Lotus-eyed,  as  also  Thy  inexhaustible  greatness. 

In  detail :  not  in  brevity.  Lotus-eyed :  having  eyes  like 

3.  So  it  is,  as  Thou,  O  Supreme  Lord,  hast 
declared  Thyself  to  be.  (Still)  I  desire  to  see  Thy 
form  as  Isvara,  O  Purusha  Supreme. 

Form  &c.\  that  of  Vish;m,  as  possessed  of  (infinite)  wisdom, 
sovereignty,    strength,    power,    prowess    and     splendour. 

I — 7.]  THE  UNiViERSAL  FORM.  249 

4.  If  Thou,  O  Lord,  thinkest  it  possible  for  me 
to  see  it,  do  Thou,  then,  O  Lord  of  Yogins,  show  me 
Thy  Eternal  Self. 

Then :  because  I  am  very  anxious  to  see. 

Arjuna  endowed  with  heavenly  sight  where  = 
with  to  see  the  Universal  Form. 

Thus  implored  by  Arjuna,  the  Lord  said: 
The    Blessed  Lord   said  : 

5.  See,  O  son  of  P;'itha,  My  heavenly  forms,  by 
hundreds  and  thousands,  of  different  sorts,  and  of 
various  colours  and  shapes. 

Heavenly:  Supernatural.  By  hundreds  and  thousands:  in- 
numerable. Colours:  such  as  blue,  green  and  the  like.  Shapes  : 
arrangements  of  parts. 

6  Behold  the  Adityas,  the  Vasus,  the  Rudras, 
the  Asvins,  and  also  the  Maruts;  behold  many 
marvels  never  seen  before,  O  Bharata. 

Behold  the  twelve  Adityas,  the  eight  Vasus,  the  eleven 
Rudras,  the  two  Asvins,  the  seven  heptads  of  Maruts.  Behold 
also  many  other  marvels  never  seen  before  by  you  or  any- 
body else  in  this  world  of  man. 

Not  this  alone  : 

7.     Now  behold  here  in  My  body,  O  Gu^/akesa, 
the  whole  world  established  in  one, — including  the 
moving   and    the  unmoving — and  whatever    else 
thou  desirest  to  see. 

Whatever  else  :  Your  success  or  defeat,  about  which  you 
have  entertained  a  doubt  (ii.  6). 


$56  THE  bhagavad-gIta.  [Dis.XL 


8.  Thou  art  not  indeed  able  to  see  Me  with  this 
thy  eye  alone  ;  I  give  thee  a  divine  eye  ;  behold 
My  lordly  Yoga. 

Me  :  putting  on  the  Universal  Form.  This  :  Praknta,  of 
prak^'iti,  natural,  (fleshy,  of  the  earth).  I  give  thee  a  divine 
eye,  by  which  you  will  be  able  to  see  Me.  By  that  eye, 
behold  My  great  miraculous  power  of  Yoga,  that  which 
belongs  to  Me  as  Is  vara. 

The  Lord's  manifestation  of  tlie  Universal  Form. 

Sawjaya  said : 

g.  Having  thus  spoken,  O  King,  then,  Hari, 
the  great  Lord  of  Yogins,  showed  to  the  son  of 
Pntha  the  Supreme  Form  as  Isvara. 

King :  Dhntarash^ra.  Hari  :  Naraya;fa.  Form  :  the  Uni- 
versal Form. 

10.  Containing  many  mouths  and  eyes,  possess- 
ed of  many   wondrous   sights,  of  many  heavenly 
ornaments,  of  many  heavenly  weapons  held  up  ; 
Such  a  form  He  showed. 


11.  Wearing  heavenly  garlands  and  vestures, 
anointed  with  heavenly  unguents,  all-wonderful, 
resplendent,  boundless,  with  faces  on  all  sides. 

With  faces  on  all  sides  :  as  He  is  the  Self  of  all  beings. 
Such  a  form  He  showed;  or,  such  a  form  did  Arjuna  see. 

Here  follows  an  illustration,  by  an  example,  of  the 
splendour  of  the  Lord's  Universal  Form : 

8 — 150  THE  UNIVERSAL  FORM.  25I 

12.  If  the  splendour  of  a  thousand  suns  were 
ever  to  present  itself  at  once  in  the  sky,  that  would 
be  like  the  splendour  of  that  Mighty  Being. 

In  the  shy :  in  antariksha  or  the  middle  loka ;  or  in  the 
heavenly  region,  which  forms  the  third  (from  here).  The 
Mighty  Being :  the  Universal  Form. — If  no  such  thing  can 
ever  exist,  then  the  splendour  of  the  Universal  Form  excels 
all  else. 


13.  There,  in  the  body  of  the  God  of  Gods,  the 
son  of  Pa«du  then  beheld  the  whole  world  establish- 
ed in  one,  and  separated  into  many  groups. 

There;  in  that  Form.  Many  groups:  Devas,  Fitns,  men 
and  other  sorts  of  beings.  The  son  of  Pdndu  :  Arjuna.  God 
of  Gods:  Hari. 

14.  Then  he,  Dhana»jaya,  filled  with  amaze- 
ment,  with  his  hair  standing  on  end,  bowed  down 
with  his  head,  and,  with  joined  palms,  thus  address- 
ed the  God. 

Then:  having  seen  Him.  The  God:  putting  on  the  Uni- 
versal Form.     With  joined  palms  :  in  order  to  bow  down. 

How  ? — Arjuna  declares  his  own  experience,  viz.,  that 
he  sees  the  Universal  Form  shewn  by  the  Lord : 

Arjuna  said  : 

15.  I  see  all  the  Gods,  O  God,  in  Thy  body, 
as  also  hosts  of  various  classes  of  beings  :  Brahma, 
the  Lord,  seated  on  the  lotus-seat,  and  all  ivishis 
and  heavenly  serpents. 

252  THE  BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.    XI. 

Variotis  classes  of  beings  :  both  animate  and  inanimate,  and 
of  various  forms.  Brahiiid  :  the  Four-faced,  the  Lord  of  crea- 
tures. He  is  seated  in  the  centre  of  the  Earth-Lotus,  on 
the  Meru  which  forms  the  cup  or  seed-vessel  as  it  were 
of  the  Earth-Lotus.  Rishis  :  such  as  Vasishfha.  Serpents: 
such  as  Vasuki. 

16.  I  see  Thee  of  boundless  form  on  every  side 
with  multitudinous  arms,  stomachs,  mouths  and 
eyes ;  neither  Thy  end  nor  the  middle  nor  the  begin- 
ning do  I  see,  O  Lord  of  the  Universe,  O  Universal 

Middle :  what  lies  between  two  extremities. 

17.  I  see  Thee  with  diadem,  club,  and  discus; 
a  mass  of  splendour  shining  everywhere,  very  hard 
to  look  at,  all  around  blazing  like  burning  fire  and 
sun,  and  immeasurable. 

Immeasurable :  whose  limits  cannot  be  fixed. 

Vishnu  is  one  with  the  Unconditioned. 

From  this  vision  of  Thy  power  of  Yoga  ( wonder-working ) 
I  infer, 

18.  Thou  art  the  Imperishable,  the  Supreme 
Being  worthy  to  be  known.  Thou  art  the  great 
Abode  of  this  Universe ;  Thou  art  the  undying 
Guardian  of  the  Eternal  Dharma,  Thou  art  the 
ancient  Purusha,  I  deem. 

To  be  known:  by  seekers  of  liberation. 

The  Universal  Form  (continued.) 


15 — 22.]  THE  UNIVERSAL  FORM.  253 

ig.  I  sec  Thcc  without  beginninj:^,  middle  or 
end,  infinite  in  power,  of  manifold  arms;  the  sun 
and  the  moon  being  Thy  eyes,  the  burning  fire 
Thy  face  ;  heating  the  whole  Universe  with  Thy 

20.  This  space  betwixt  heaven  and  earth  and 
all  the  quarters  are  filled  by  Thee  alone.  Having 
seen  this.  Thy  marvellous  and  awful  form,  the 
three  worlds  are  trembling,  O  High-souled  Being. 
Thcc  :  in  Thy  Universal  Form. 

Now,  in  order  to  remove  the  doubt  entertained  by  Arjuna 
(ii.  6)  as  to  his  success,  the  Lord  proceeds  to  show  that  vic- 
tory for  Pa«rfavas  is  certain.  Seeing  Him,  Arjuna  goes  on  : 

21.  Into  Thee,  indeed,  enter  these  hosts  of 
Suras  ;  some  extol  Thee  in  fear  with  joined  palms  ; 
"  May  it  be  well!  "  thus  saying,  bands  of  great 
ivishis  and  Siddhas  praise  Thee  with  hymns  com- 

These  hosts  of  Suras  :  these  warriors  now  fighting,  all  of 
them  Devas, — the  Vasus  and  others, — who  have  incarnated 
themselves  as  human  beings  for  lightening  the  earth's 
burden.  They  are  seen  entering  into  Thee.  Some  of  them 
only  call  out  to  Thee,  unable  even  to  flee.  Having  discover- 
ed portents  and  other  forebodings  of  evil  as  the  war 
approached,  the  great  i?ishis  and  Siddhas  say  '  May  it  be 
well  for  the  world  !  '  and  offer  their  prayers  to  Thee  in  full 

The  wonderfulness  of  the    Universal  Form. 


254  '''"^  bhagavad-gIta.  [Dis.  XI. 


22.  The  Rudras,  Adit5'as,  Vasus,  and  Sadhyas, 
Visvas  and  Asvins,  Maruts  and  Ushmapas,  hosts 
of  Gandharvas,  Yakshas,  Asuras,  and  Siddhas, — 
they  are  all  looking  at  Thee,  all  quite  astonished. 

Ushmapas  :  a  class  of  Pitns.  Gandharvas  :  such  as  HS,ha 
and  Huhu.  Yakshas ;  such  as  Kubera.  Asuras :  such  as 
Virochana.     Siddhas :  such  as  Kapila. 

The  terribleness  of  the  Universal  Form. 


23.  Having  seen  Thy  immeasurable  Form, 
possessed,  O  Mighty-armed,  of  many  mouths  and 
eyes,  of  many  arms  and  thighs  and  feet,  and  of 
many  stomachs,  and  fearful  with  many  tusks,  the 
worlds  are  terrified,  and  I  also. 

The  zDorlds :  all  living  creatures  in  the  world. 

Here  follows  the  cause  (of  my  terror) : 

24.  On  seeing  Thee  (Thy  Form)  touching  the 
sky,  blazing  in  many  colours,  with  mouths  wide 
open,  with  large  fiery  eyes,  I  am  terrified  at  heart 
and  find  no  courage  nor  peace,  O  Vish»u. 

Many  colours  ;  fearful,  putting  on  different  shapes. 

Wherefore  ? — 

25.  Having  seen  Thy  mouths  which  are  fearful 
with  tusks  and  resemble  Time's  Fires,  I  know  not 
the  four  quarters,  nor  do  I  find  peace ;  be  Thou 
eraciousl  O  Lord  of  GDds  and  Abode  of  the 
Universe ! 

Tim's  Fins :  the  fires  which  consume  the  worlds  at  the 

22 — 30']  THE  UNIVERSAL  FORM.  255 

time  of  dissolution  (pralaya).  /  know  mt  the  fonv  qiiartevs'. 
I  cannot  distinguish  the  East  and  the  West,  I  cannot  dis- 
criminate the  different  quarters. 

Arjuna's   vision  of  the  defeat  of  the  enemy. 

My  fear,  too,  of  defeat  at  the  hands  of  others  is  gone  ;  for, 

26 — 27.  And  all  these  sons  of  Dhntarashira, 
with  hosts  of  princes,  Bhishma,  Dro»a  and  that 
son  (Karnal  of  a  charioteer,  with  the  warrior  chiefs 
of  ours,  enter  hurrying  into  Thy  mouth,  terrible 
with  tusks  and  fearful  to  behold.  Some  are  found 
sticking  in  the  gaps  betwixt  the  teeth  with  their 
heads  crushed  to  powder. 

Sons :  such   as    Duryodhana.     Ouvs :    such  as   Dhnsh^a- 
dyumna.     Sticking  :  like  a  piece  of  flesh. 

How  do  they  enter  into  Thy  mouth  ?  —  Arjuna  says  : 

28.  As  many  torrents  of  rivers  flow  direct  to- 
wards the  sea,  so  do  these  heroes  in  the  world  of 
men  enter  Thy  flaming  mouths. 

These :  such  as  Bhishma. 

Why  and  how  do  they  enter  ? — /\rjuna  says  : 

29.  As  moths  hurriedly  rush  into  a  blazing  lire 
for  destruction,  just  so  do  these  creatures  also  hurri- 
edly rush  into  Thy  mouths  for  destruction. 

The  splendour  of  the  Universal  Form. 


30.  Thou  lickest  up  devouring  all  worlds  on 
every  side  with  Thy  flaming  mouths,  filling  the 
whole  world  with  flames.  Thy  fierce  rays  are  blaz- 
ing forth,  O  Vishwu. 

256  THE    BHAGAVAD-GiTA.  PDlS.  XI. 

Vishnu '.  all-pervading. 

Because  Thou  art  so  fierce,  wherefore, 

31.  Tell  me  who  thou  art,  so  fierce  in  form.  I 
bow  to  Thee,  O  God  Supreme  ;  have  mercy.  I  de- 
sire to  know  Thee,  the  Original  Being.  I  know 
not  indeed  Thy  doing. 

The  Lord's  advent  for  destruction  of  worlds. 

The  Blessed  Lord  said : 

32.  I  am  the  mighty  world-destroying  Time, 
now  engaged  in  destroying  the  worlds.  Even  with- 
out thee,  none  of  the  warriors  arrayed  in  hostile 
armies  shall  live. 

Warriors  ;  Bhishma,  Dro«a,  Kar»a  and  others. 

Such  being  the  case, 

33.  Therefore  do  thou  arise  and  obtain  fame. 
Conquer  the  enemies  and  enjoy  the  unrivalled  do- 
minion. By  Myself  have  they  been  already  slain  ; 
be  thou  a  mere  instrument,  O  Savyasachin. 

Fame :  that  Bhishma  and  other  atirathas  (great  warriors ) 
arrayed  in  the  hostile  army,  unconquerable  even  to  Devas, 
have  been  defeated  by  Arjuna.  Such  a  fame  is  the  result 
only  of  good  karma.  Enemies :  such  as  Duryodhana. 
Savyasachin :  Arjuna  who  could  shoot  arrows  even  with  the 
left  hand. 

34.  Dro;/a  and  Bhishma,  Jayadratha,  Kama  and 
other  brave  warriors,  — these,  killed  by  Me,  do 
thou  kill;  fear  not,  fight^  thou  shalt  conquer  the 

30-35-]  THE  UNIVERSAL  FORM.  257 

The  Lord  speaks  of  these  warriors — whom  iVrjuna  had 
any  reason  to  fear — as  killed  by  Himself.  Now  it  is  evident 
why  there  should  be  any  hesitation  (on  the  part  of  Arjuna) 
concerning  Dro;/a  and  Bhishma.  Dro/za  was  his  teacher  in 
the  science  of  archery,  was  possessed  of  celestial  weapons 
and  was  especially  his  (Arjuna's)  own  dear  greatest  Guru. 
Bhishma  had  his  death  at  his  own  command  and  was 
possessed  of  celestial  weapons.  He,  once  entered  into  a  single 
combat  with  Para5u-Rama  and  was  not  defeated.  As  to 
Jayadratha,  his  father  was  engaged  in  austerity,  firmly  re- 
solved that  "  whoever  causes  my  son's  head  to  drop  down 
on  earth,  his  head  too  shall  fall."  Kar7/a,  too,  was  furnish- 
ed with  an  unerring  Sakti  (missile)  given  him  by  Indra.  He 
was  a  son  of  the  sun,  born  of  a  maiden.  Wherefore  he  is 
also  mentioned  by  name.     Enemies  :  such  as  Duryodhana. 

Arjuna's  adoration  of  the    Universal  Form. 

Sa»jaya  said  : 

35.  Having  heard  that  speech  of  Kesava,  the 
crowned  one 'Arjuna),  with  joined  palms,  trembling, 
prostrating  himself,  again  addressed  Krishna, 
stammering,  bowing  down,  overwhelmed  with  fear. 

When  a  man  is  overpowered  with  fear  or  with  love,  his 
eyes  become  full  of  tears,  owing  to  the  attack  of  pain  or 
owing  to  the  rise  of  joy:  then  his  throat  is  choked  up  with 
phlegm,  and  this  again  causes  indistinctness  and  dulness  in 
speech.     Thus  did  Arjuna  speak  in  a  stammering   tone. 

Sa/ijaya's  speech  on  this  occasion  is  very  significant. — 
How  ? — Sa;;jaya  hoped  that  on  seeing  that  his  (Dhnta- 
rash^ra's)  son  would  certainly  be  killed  for  want  of  support 
if  the  unconquerable  four,  including  Drowa,  should  be  killed 


258  THE  bhagavad-gIta.  [Dis.  XI- 

by  Arjuna,  Dhntarash^ra  might  despair  of  success  and 
bring  about  peace.  Thus  he  hoped  there  would  be  happiness 
to  both.  Even  to  this,  Dhntarash/ra  did  not  Usten,  owing 
to  mighty  Destiny. 

Arjuna  said  : 

36.  It  is  meet,  O  Hrishikesa,  that  the  world 
is  delighted  and  rejoices  by  Thy  praise  ;  Rakshasas 
fly  in  fear  to  all  quarters,  and  all  hosts  of  Siddhas 
bow  to  Thee. 

Praise :  description  of  Thy  glory.  This  verse  may  be  also 
rendered  so  as  to  mean  :  The  Lord  is  the  proper  object  of 
delight  and  love,  for  the  Lord  is  the  Self  of  all  and  the  Friend 
of  all  beings.  Siddhas  :  such  as  Kapila.  It  is  meet  that  such 
should  be  the  case  so  far  as  Thou  art  concerned. 

For  the  following  reason  also  the  Lord  is  the  object  of 
delight,  etc. : 

^y.  And  how  should  they  not,  O  Mighty  Being, 
bow  to  Thee,  Greater  (than  all  else),  the  Primal 
Cause  even  of  Brahma,  O  Infinite  Being,  O  Lord  of 
Gods,  O  Abode  of  the  Universe ;  Thou  art  the 
Imperishable,  the  Being  and  the  non-Being,  That 
which  is  the  Supreme. 

Bi'ahma  :  the  Hira/jyagarbha.  (Because  Thou  art  the 
Mighty  Being),  therefore  Thou  art  the  proper  object  of  de- 
light and  worship.  Thou  art  the  Supreme  Being,  as 
revealed  in  the  Vedantas  (  Upanishads ) :  Thou  art  the 
Sat  and  the  A-sat.  The  existent,  as  well  as  the  non-existent 
— i.  e.,  that  with  reference  to  which  arises  our  consciousness 
of  non-existence, — form   the    upadhis    (conditions)    of  the 

35 — 40']  THE  UNIVERSAL  FORM.  259 

Akshara,  on  account  of  whicli  He  is  spoken  of  as  the  5^^ 
or  the  A-sat,  the  existent  or  the  non-existent.  In  reality, 
the  Imperishable  (Akshara)  whom  the  Veda-knowers 
speak  of  transcends  the  Sat  and  the  A-sat,  and  He  is  Thy- 
self and  none  else. 

He  again  extols  the  Lord  thus  . 

38.  Thon  art  the  Primal  God,  the  Ancient 
Piiriisha;  Then  art  the  Supreme  Abode  of  all  this. 
Thou  art  the  Knower  and  the  Knowable  and  the 
Supreme  Abode.  By  Thee  is  all  pervaded,  O  Being 
of  infinite  forms. 

Piiiual  God:  because  Thou  art  thecreator  of  the  Universe. 
Piinisha:  so  called  because  He  lies  in  the  body.  Abode: 
that  in  which  the  Universe  rests  during  the  Great  Pralaya 
and  such  other  periods.  Knowey:  of  all  tlie  knowable 
things.    Supreme  Abode  :  of  Vish/ai. 


39.  Thou  art  Va3'u,  Yama,  Agni,  Varu;/a,  the 
Moon,  Prajapati,  and  the  Great  Grand-Father. 
Hail !  Hail  to  Thee  !  a  thousand  times,  and  again 
and  again  hail !  hail  to  Thee  ! 

Prajapati:  such  as  Kasyapa.  Great  Grand-Father:  the 
father  even  of  Brahma.  Again  :  This  shows  Arjuna's  dis- 
satisfaction due  to  his  extreme  faith  and  devotion. 


40.  Hail  to  Thee  before  and  behind  !  Hail  to 
Thee  on  every  side!  O  All!  Thou,  infinite  in  power 
and  infinite  in  daring,  pervadcst  all;  wherefore 
Thou  art  W\. 



Before :  in  the  East.  On  every  side  :  as  thou  art  present  in 
all  quarters.  A  man  may  be  powerful,  but  he  may  not  dare 
lo  slay  the  enemies,  or  he  may  be  slow  in  daring ;  but  Thou 
art  infinite  both  in  power  and  in  daring.  Pervadest :  by  Thy 
One  Self.     0  All :  without  Thee  nothing  exists. 

Arjuna's  prayer  for  the  Lord's  forgiveness. 

Because  I  have  been  a  sinner  for  want  of  knowledge  of 
Thy  greatness,  therefore, 

41-42.  Whatever  was  rashh'  said  by  me  from 
carelessness  or  love,  addressing  Thee  as  "  O 
Krishna,  O  Yadava,  O  friend,"  looking  on  Thee 
merely  as  a  friend,  ignorant  of  this  Thy  great- 
ness,— in  whatever  way  I  may  have  insulted  Thee 
for  fun  while  at  play,  on  bed,  in  an  assembly,  or 
at  meals,  when  alone,  O  Achyuta,  or  in  company — 
that  I  implore  Thee,  Immeasureable,  to  forgive. 

Looking  on  Thee  merely  as  a  friend  :  owing  to  misconception. 
Greatness:  The  Universal  Form  as  Isvara.  Carelessness: 
the  mind  being  attracted  elsewhere.  Love :  confidence  born 
of  affection.     That:  all  those  offences. 


43.  Thou  art  the  Father  of  this  world,  moving 
and  unmoving.  Thou  art  to  be  adored  bj-  this 
(world).  Thou  the  Greatest  Guru  ;  (for)  Thy  equal 
exists  not  ;  whence  another,  superior  to  Thee,  in 
the  three  worlds,  O  Being  of  unequalled  greatness  ? 

Thy  equal  exists  not :  for  there  cannot  be  two  Isvaras  or 
Lords  ;  if  there  were  more  than  one  Isvara,  the  world  could 

40-46.]  THE  UNIVERSAL  FORM.  261 

not  get  on  as  it  now  does.''=     When  even  Thy   equal  exists 
not,  how  can  there  exist  a  being  superior  to  Thee  ? 

Because  it  is  so, 

44.  Therefore,  bowing  down,  prostrating  my 
body,  I  implore  Thee,  adorable  Lord,  to  forgive. 
It  is  meet  Thou  shouldst  bear  with  me  as  the  father 
with  the  son,  as  friend  with  friend,  as  the  lover 
with  the  beloved. 

As  ihe  father,  etc.     As  a  father  forgives  his  son's  offences. 

Arjuna's  prayer  for  the  Lord's  resumption 
of  His  usual  form. 

45.  I  am  delighted,  having  seen  what  was  un- 
seen before ;  and  (yet)  my  mind  is  confounded 
with  fear.  Show  me  that  form  only,  O  God  ;  have 
mercy,  O  God  of  Gods,  O  Abode  of  the  Universe. 

What  was  unseen  before:  the  Universal  Form  never  before 
seen  by  me  or  anybody  else.  Therefore  show  me  only  that 
form  (which  Thou  wearest)  as  my  friend. 

46.  I  wish  to  see  Thee  as  before,  crowned, 
possessed  of  the  club,  with  the  discus  in  the  hand, 
in  Thy  former  form  only,  having  four  arms,  O 
Thousand-armed,  O  Universal  Form. 

Thy  former  form  :  as  the  son  ofVasudeva.  Thousand -armed: 
referring   to   the  Universal    Form    manifested  at    present. 

*  When  one  /svara  desires  to   create,  eflbrt   of  one  /svara    in    one    direction 

another  may  desire  to  destroy.    There  is  would  be  neutralised  by  that  of  another 

no  guarantee  that  all  the  different  /svaras  in  the  opposite  direction.     The    world 

would  be  of  one  mind  :  and  as  they  would  could  not  exist  as  it  exists  now. — (A.) 
all   be  independent   of    each   other,    the 

262  THE  BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.    XI, 

Withdrawing  Thy  Universal  Form,"  do  Thou  put  on  Thy 
former  one. 

The  Lord  resumes  His  usual  form. 

Seeing  Arjuna  afraid,  the  Lord  withdrew  the  Universal 
Form  ;  and  consoling  Arjuna  with  sweet  words,  He  said  : 
The  Blessed  Lord  said  : 

47.  Ry  Me,  gracious  to  thee,  O  Arjuna,  this 
Supreme  Form  has  been  shown, — by  my  sovereign 
power — full  of  splendour,  the  All,  the  Boundless, 
the  Original  Form  of  Mine,  never  before  seen  by 
any  other  than  thyself. 

The  Lord  praises  that  Form  on  the  ground  that  '  Thou 
(Arjuna)  shouldst  be  considered  to  have  attained  all  thy 
ends  by  this  vision  of  My  Form.' 

48.  Not  by  study  of  the  Vedas  and  of  the  sacri- 
fices,   nor  by  gifts,    nor  by   rituals,  nor  by  severe 
austerities,  can  I  be  seen  in  this  Form  in  the  world  of 
man  by  any  other  than  thyself,  O  hero  of  the  Kurus. 

Though  a  regular  study  of  the  four  Vedas  includes 
that  of  the  sacrifices  also,  the  study  of  the  sacrifices  is 
seperately  mentioned  in  order  to  imply  that  a  knowledge  of 
the  sacrifices  is  necessary."-  Rituals  :  such  as  Agnihotra. 
Austeyiiy:  such  as  Chandrayaz/a.f 

49.  Be  not  afraid  nor  bewildered  on  seeing  such 

*  Some  believe  that   the   study   of  the  consumption   of  food  by   one   mouthful 

Vedas  consists  in  learning  the   texts  by  every  day  for  the  dark  half  of  the  month 

rote  without  understanding  the  meaning.  beginning  with  15th  at  the  full  moon  until 

It   is  therefore   necessary   to  separately  the  quantity   is  reduced  to   zero   at   the 

enjoin  that   the   meaning  of  the   Vedas,  new  moon  and  then  increasing  it  in  like 

t.  e.,  of  the  nature  of  the  sacrifices  treated  manner  during  the  fortnight  of  the  moon's 

of  in  them,  should  also  be  learnt. — (A.)  increase,' 

\  It  consists  in  '  diminishing  the  daily 

^5 — 54']  "^"^  UNIVERSAL  FORM.  263 

a  terrible  form  of  Mine  as  this  ;  free  from  fear  and 
cheerful  at  heart,  do  thou  again  see  this  My  form- 
er form. 

Formey  form:  which  issodear  to  you, — four-arnied,  wearing 
a  conch,  a  discus  and  a  club. 

Sanjaya  said : 

50.  Having:  thus  spoken  to  Arjuna,  Vasudeva 
again  showed  His  own  form ;  and  the  Mighty  Being, 
becoming  gentle  in  form,  consoled  him  who  was 

His  own  :  as  born  in  Vasudeva's  family. 

Arjuna  said : 

51.  Having  seen  this  Thy  gentle  human  form, 
O  Janardana,  now  I  have  grown  serene,  and  re- 
turned to  my  nature. 

Devotion  as  the  sole  means  to  the  realization 
of  the  Universal  form. 

The  Blessed  Lord  said : 

52.  Very  hard  to  see  is  this  Form  of  Mine  which 
thou  hast  seen  ;  even  the  Devas  ever  long  to  be- 
hold this  form. 

Long  to  behold:  though  they  long  to  seethe  Form,  yet 
they  have  not  seen  It  as  you  have  done,  nor  shall  they 
ever  see  It. 

Why  ? 

53.  Not  by  Vedas,  nor  by  austerity,  nor  by 
gifts,  nor  by  sacrifice,  can  I  be  seen  in  this  Form 
as  thou  hast  seen  Me. 

How  canst  Thou  be  seen  ? — Listen  : 

54.  But  by  undistracted  devotion  can  I,  of  this 

264  THE   BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.  Xl. 

Form,  be   known  and  seen  in  reality,  and  entered 
into,  O  harasser  of  thy  foes. 

Undistvaded  devotion  (Bhakti) :  that  devotion  which  never 
seeks  any  other  object  except  the  Lord,  and  in  virtue  of 
which  no  object  other  than  Vasudeva  is  cognized  by  any  of 
the  senses.  Of  this  Form:  of  the  Universal  Form.  By  this 
sort  of  devotion  it  is  possible  not  only  to  know  Me  as 
declared  in  the  sastras,  but  also  to  intuitively  realise  Me  as 
I  am,  and  to  enter  into  Me,  i.e.,  to  obtain  liberation. 

The  essence  of  the  whole  teaching  of  the  Qita. 

Now  the  essential  teaching  of  the  whole  Gita-5astra 
which  conduces  to  Highest  Bliss  will  be  summed  up  here, 
the  teaching  being  such  as  every  one  should  follow  : 

55.     He  who  does  works  for  Me,  who  looks  on 

Me  as  the  Supreme,  who  is  devoted  to  Me,  who  is 

free  from  attachment,  who  is  without  hatred  for  any 

being,  he  comes  to  Me,  O  Pan^ava. 

A  servant  works  for  his  master,  but  he  does  not  look 
upon  that  master  as  the  highest  goal  for  him  to  reach  after 
death  ;  but  My  devotee  works  for  Me  and  also  looks  on  Me 
as  the  Supreme  Goal ;  I  am  his  Supreme  Goal.  He  is 
devoted  to  me ;  he  serves  Me  alone  in  all  manner  of  ways, 
with  his  heart  and  soul.  He  is  not  attached  to  wealth,  to 
progeny,  to  friends,  to  wife,  to  kinsmen,  or  to  pleasures ; 
for  them  he  has  no  attachment  or  love.  He  cherishes  no 
feeling  of  enmity  for  any  of  the  creatures,  even  though  these 
latter  may  have  done  great  injury  to  him.  Such  a  man 
comes  to  Me.  I  am  his  highest  Goal,  and  he  seeks  nothing 
else.  This  is  the  teaching  I  have  to  offer  to  thee,  O  Pa;;iava. 


Who  are  superior — the  worshippers  of  Isvara,  or 
the   worshippers  of   Akshara  ? 

Now  Arjuna  is  supposed  to  have  addressed  the  Lord 
thus : — In  the  discourses  beginning  with  the  second  and 
ending  with  the  tenth  which  treats  of  Divine  Glories,  Thou 
hast  taught  the  worship  of  the  Supreme  Self,  the  Imperish- 
able (Akshara)  Brahman,  devoid  of  all  upadhis  (conditions) ; 
and  Thou  hast  also  taught  here  and  there  worship  of  Thy- 
self as  the  Lord  of  the  Universe,  associated  with  the 
upadhi  (condition)  of  that  energy  (sattva)  which  has  the 
power  of  carrying  on  all  evolutionary  process  and  of  know- 
ing everything.  And  in  the  (eleventh)  Discourse  treating  of 
the  Universal  Form,  Thy  Primal  Form  as  Lvara  manifest- 
ing itself  as  the  whole  Universe  has  also  been  shown  by 
Thee  for  the  same  purpose  of  worship.  And  having  shown 
that  Form,  Thou  hast  exhorted  me  to  do  works  for  Thy 
sake  only  (xi.  55),  and  so  on.  Wherefore,  I  ask  of  Thee 
with  a  desire  to  know  which  of  these  two  ways  is  the  better. 

Arjuna  said  : 

I.  Those  devotees  who,  always  devout,  thus 
contemplate  Thee,  and  those  also  who  (contem- 
plate) the  Imperishable,  the  Unmanifest, — which 
of  them  are  better  versed  in  Yoga  ? 

Thus :  referring  to  what  was  said  in  the  last   preceding 
verse,  '  He  who  does  works  for  Me '  ( xi.  55  )    and  so  on. 



a66  THE   BHAGAVAD-CtTi.  [DiS.  XIl* 

ji3-tMws  Aejxmi :  eQ|;ag«d  without  wtermissnon  in  dtnng  works 
(or  tbe  Lord's  sake  and  in  doing  other  thini^  taught  before, 
steadfast  in  mind.  These  dev'otees,  seeking  nobody  e]s<^ 
for  th«r  refuge,  meditate  on  Thee  in  the  Univ^ersal  For 
just  manifested.  There  are  others  who,  having  abandon- 
ed  all  desires  and  reaoonced  all  actions,  meditate  on  the 
Imperishable  (aksharsL)  Brahman — abo  described  abov^e, — 
who  b  anmanifest  (avrakta.  L  r^,  incomprebensable  to  the 
senses),  as  devoid  of  all  >  or  conditions. — That  indeed 

is  said  to  be  manifested  (v\-akta)  which  is  \isible  to  the 
sensefv  as  the  root  of  the  -vposrd  *  \yakta "  implies  ;  but  this, 
the   Imperishable  (AV  •:   not  so, — These  others 

meditate  on  the  Imp-  >,  ih^t  Uomanifesied,  asdeAned 
by  other  attributes  tiis  be  er ..'"::. -.tix^.  below.  Of  tbe  two 
classes^  who  are  better  versed  m  Yoga  ? 

Tbe  m^nrsliippers  «f  l;s>-ara. 

Tbe  L-  -  >  -\^  tv"  :he  wor^ippers  of  the  Imperish- 
able (Ak>  ho  see  righiS^and  hav^e  abandoned  desires, 
let  tho—  .  we  shal"  --^  '^ter  on  what  has  to  be  said 

regarc..^  .   ,  .       "^r-*  as  : .^  the  othears : 

1  «ie  Klessed  Lord  said : 

2 .     Those  who,  fixiin^:  their  thought  on  Me,  con- 
teimplate  Me,  always  v  endued  with  sapreme 

hkh,  ihc:^  in  my  -.  are  tbe  best  Yogins. 

Tbot^ae  ^-  .  bAkt£^  nx  theair  mind  on  Me  in  tbe 

U&i\nerssil  Form,  i:hc  Sapnnte  Loni,  and  wor^i^  Meas  the 

Gov^emi;ntg  Lord  of  all  Masters  of  Yoga,  who  is  onni- 
sdeat,  whose  tk^oq  is  free  Srom  the  Umam  (parblindness) 

of  attachment  and  oirber  ev^  passkKas, — they  who  allways 

1-4.]  BHAKTI-VOCA  267 

contemplate  Me  steadfastly  (in  the  manner  described  in  the 
closing  verse  of  the  preceding  discourse),  endowed  with 
supreme  faith, — these,  I  think,  are  the  best  Vogins.  Indeed, 
they  pass  their  days  and  nights  in  incessant  thought  of  Me. 
Wherefore  it  is  but  proper  to  speak  of  them  as  the  best 

The  worshippers  of  Ak.shara. 

Are  not  the  others,  then,  the  best  Yogins  ? — Stop  t  hear 
thou  what  I  have  to  say  r^arding  them : 

3 — 4.  Those  who  ever  contemplate  the  Im- 
p>erishable,  the  Indefinable,  the  Unmanifest,  the 
Omnipresent  and  the  Unthinkable,  the  Unchange- 
able, the  Immutable,  the  Eternal, — having  restrain- 
ed all  the  senses,  always  equanimoas,  intent  on  the 
wel^re  of  all  beings, — they  reach  Myself. 

Because  the  Imperishable  (Akshara)  is  unmanifest.  He 
is  not  acces^ble  to  words  and  cannot  therefore  be  defined. 
He  is  unmanifestt  not   manifest  to   any  of  the  organs  of 
knowledge.  They  contemplate  the  Imperishable  evety  where 
all  round.^/M3ontemplation  (Upisana)  consists  in  ^proach- 
ing   the  object  of  worship  by  way  of  meditating  it  accord- 
ing to  the  Teaching  (iistra)  and  dwelling  for  a  long  time 
steadily  in  the  current  of  same  thought  (continuous)  like 
*a  thread  of  descending  oil. — The  Imperishable  who  is  the 
object  of  contemplation  is  thus  qualified :  He  is  omnipresent, 
pervading  all  like  the  ak4$a.     He  is   unthinkable,   because  \ 
He  Is  unmanlfiest.  Whatex'er  Is  visible  to  the  senses  can  be  ; 
thought  of  by  the  mind  also ;  but  the  Akshara  is  invisible  j 
to  the  senses  and  is  therefore  unthinkable.  /He  is  unchange- 
able (K(i/astha) — '  K(i/a '  means  a  thing  which  is  good  to  all 


appearance  but  evil  within.  Accordingly  it  refers  here 
to  that  seed  of  sa;«sara — including  avidya  (nescience)  and 
other  things, — which  is  full  of  evil  within,  designated  by 
various  terms  such  as  Maya,  /iyyrtATjVa  (undifferentiated), 
as  in  Svetcisvataropanishad  (iv.  lo)  and  in  the  Gita  (vii.  14.) 
'Ku/astha'  means  He  who  is  seated  in  Maya  as  Its  Witness, 
as  Its  Lord. — Or,  '  Kiiifastha '  may  mean  '  remaining  like  a 
heap.'  Hence  He  is  immutable  and  eternal.  They  who 
contemplate  the  Imperishable,  curbing  all  their  senses,  and 
always  equanimous  whether  they  come  by  the  desirable  or 
the  undesirable, — they  come  to  Myself. — It  needs  indeed  no 
saying  that  they  come  to  Me  ;  for,  it  has  been  said  that  '  the 
wise  man  is  deemed  My  very  Self  (vii.  18).  Neither  is  it 
necessary  to  say  that  they  are  the  best  Yogins, — seeing  that 
they  are  one  with  the  Lord  Himself. 


5.     Greater  is  their  trouble  whose  thoughts  are 

set  on    the    Unmanifest  ;  for,  the    Goal,  the    Un- 

manifest,  is  very  hard  for  the  embodied  to  reach. 

Great  indeed  is  the  trouble  of  those  who  are  engaged  in 
doing  works  for  My  sake,  and  so  on  ;  but  greater  still  is  the 
trouble  of  those  who  identify  themselves  with  the  Imperish- 
able and  contemplate  the  Supreme  Reality, — the  trouble 
arising  from  the  necessity  of  having  to  abandon  their  at- 
tachment for  the  body.  The  Goal,  the  Imperishable,  is  very  , 
hard  for  the  embodied  to  reach,  for  thos3  who  are  attached 
to  their  bodies.     Therefore"  their  trouble  is  greater. 

Salvation  by  worship  of  Isvara. 

Later  on  we  shall  describe  the  conduct   in  life  of  the 
worshippers  of  the  Imperishable  (Akshara-Upasakas). 

♦  Because  of  the  necessity  there  is  for  abandoning  attachment  to  the  body. 

4 — 9-]  BHAKTl-YOGA.  269 

6 — 7.  But  those  who  worship  Me,  renouncing 
all  actions  in  Me,  regarding  Me  Supreme,  meditat- 
ing on  Me  with  exclusive  devotion  (yoga)  ;  for 
them  whose  thought  is  fixed  on  Me,  I  become  ere 
long,  O  son  of  Pritha,  the  deliverer  out  of  the 
ocean  of  the  mortal  sa;»sara. 

Me :  the  Isvara,  the  Lord.  Exclusive  :  having  no  other 
object  of  worship  except  Myself,  God  in  the  Universal  Form. 
Devotion  (Yoga) :  samadhi  or  steadfastness  of  mind.  Those 
who  are  engaged  in  contemplating  Me  exclusively,  I,  the 
Lord,  will  lift  up  from  the  ocean  of  mortal  sawsara,  since 
their  thoughts  are  fixed  on  Me  in  the  Universal  Form. — 
Sawsara  is  an  ocean,  because  it  is  very  hard  to  cross 
beyond  it. 

Because  it  is  so,  therefore, 

S.     Fix   th}^   mind  in  Me  exclusiveh-   apply  thy 

reason  to  Me.     Thou  shalt   no   doubt   live  in   Me 

alone  hereafter. 

Fix  thy  mind  (manas) — thy  purposes  and  thoughts — in 
Me,  the  Lord  in  the  Universal  Form.  Fix  in  Me  thy  reason 
(buddhi)  also  which  resolves  and  determines. — What  will 
be  the  result  ? — Listen  :  Thou  shalt  without  fail  abide  in 
Me  as  Myself,  on  the  death  of  this  body.  Thou  shalt  not 
doubt  it. 


g.     If  thou  art  unable  to  fix  thy  thought  steadi- 
ly on  Me,  then   by   yoga  of  constant   practice   do 
thou  seek  to  reach  Me,    O  Dhana»jaya. 
If  you  cannot   fix  your   thought   on  Me  steadily   in  the 
manner  I  have  mentioned,  then  seek  thou  to  reach  Me  in  the 


Universal  Form,  by  yoga  of  constant  practice  (abhyasa- 
yoga).  Practice  (abhyasa)  consists  in  withdrawing  thought 
from  all  quarters  and  fixing  it  again  and  again  on  one 
particular  object.  '  AbhyAsa-yoga '  means  samadhana  or 
steadfastness  of  mind  acquired  by  such  practice. 

Service  of  the  Lord. 

10.  (If)  thou  art  not  equal  to  practice  either,  then 
be  thou  intent  on  (doing)  actions  for  My  sake. 
Even  doing  actions  for  My  sake,  thou  shalt  attain 

Even  if  thou  doest  mere  actions  for  My  sake  without 
practising  yoga,  thou  shalt  attain  perfection  ; — thou  shalt 
first  attain  purity  of  mind,  then  yoga  or  steadfastness, 
then  knowledge,  and  then  perfection  (moksha). 

Abandonment  of  the  fruits  of  actions- 

11.  If  thou  art  unable  to  do  even  this,  then 
refuged  in  devotion  to  Me,  do  thou  abandon  the 
fruits  of  all  actions,  self-controlled. 

If  thou  canst  not  even  be  intent  on  doing  actions  for  My 
sake  as  thou  hast  just  been  taught,  then  do  thou  perform 
actions  renouncing  them  all  in  Me,  and  abandon  the  fruit 
of  those  actions. 

Now  He  extols  the  abandoning  of  the  fruits  of  all  actions. 

12.  Better  indeed  is  knowledge  than  practice  ; 
than  knowledge  is  meditation  more  esteemed ; 
than  meditation  the  abandonment  of  the  fruits  of 
actions ;  on  abandonment,  Peace  follows  immedi- 

9 — II.]  CHAKTI-YOGA.  27I 

Knowledge  is  better  than  practice  '■^'-  accompanied  with 
ignorance;!  better  than  that  knowledge  is  meditation 
(dhyana)  with  knowledge ;  better  than  meditation  with 
knowledge  is  the  abandonment  of  the  fruits  of  actions. 
From  such  an  abandonment  of  the  fruits  of  actions,  accom- 
panied with  the  qualification  |  mentioned  above,  cessation 
of  sa;«sara  and  of  the  cause  thereof  follows  immediately ; 
it  admits  of  no  delay. 

Abandonment  of  the  fruit  of  all  action  is  taught  as  a 
means  to  Bliss  in  the  case  of  an  ignorant  person  engaged 
in  action,  only  when  unable  to  tread  the  paths  taught 
before,  but  not  at  first.  Wherefore  the  act  of  abandoning 
the  fruit  of  all  action  is  merely  extolled  by  the  declaration, 
lin  this  verse,  of  the  superiority  of  one  over  another  ;  for  it 
has  been  taught  as  the  course  to  be  adopted  when  a  man 
is  unable  to  follow  the  paths  already  taught.* 

In  what  way  does  it  (  the  declaration  )  form  a  mere 
praise  ? 

In  the  Ka^hopanishad  (vi.  14)  it  is  said  that  immortality 
results  from  the  abandonment  of  all  objects  of  desire  ;  and 
this  is  a  truth  quite  familiar  ^  to  all.  And  all  objects  of 
desire  are  fruits  of  actions  enjoined  in  the  sruti  and  in  the 
smriti.  In  the  case  of  the  enlightened  person  who  is  steadily 

*  .1 /j/uYisd  (practice) — occurring  in  the  with  discrimination.' 

text   and  the   commentary— may     mean  ^  The    qualification    being     '  self-con- 

either  (I)  the  act  of  listening  to  the  teach-  trolled.'     (xii.  ii).— (.\.) 

insj;  of  the  sriitis   with  a  view  to    obtain  1'  The    abandonment   of  the   fruits  of 

knowledge,  or  (2)  the  practice  of  dhyana  actions  forms  here  the  subject  of  praise, 

with  a  firm  resolve.— (A.)  because  it  is  the  path  intended  to    be 

f  Two  different    readings    are   found  taught  in  this  connection-(A.) 

here  in  the  MSS.  of  the   bhashya  :  (i)  J*  A'  '=>""'".'"   'he  sruti.    {Vide  Bn. 
viveka-purvakdt,  and  (2)  aviveka-pfnvakat. 
The  former  would  mean  '  accompanied 

Up.  4-4-6)-(A.) 



engaged  in  contemplation,  Peace  immediately  follows  tjie 
abandonment  of  desires.  Now  mere  abandonment  of  desires 
constitutes  a  factor  of  even  an  ignorant  man's  abandon- 
ment of  the  fruits  of  actions ;  and  because  of  this  point  of 
similarity,  mere  abandonment  of  the  fruits  of  all  actions  is 
praised — with  a  view  to  create  a  desire  to  follow  the  course 
— in  the  same  way  that,  in  saying  that  the  ocean  was 
drunk  by  the  brahma^a  sage  Agastya,  even  the  brahmaj/as 
of  this  age  are  praised  for  the  mere  reason  that  they  too 
are  brahma»as. 

Thus,  it  has  been  taught  that  Karma-yoga  accompanied 
with  the  abandonment  of  the  fruits  of  actions  is  a  means  to 

The  life  of  the   Akshara=upasakas. 

Here,  it  is  by  presupposing  a  distinction  between  Isvara 
and  Atman,  the  Lord  and  the  Self,  that  Yoga — which  con- 
sists in  concentrating  thought  on  the  Lord,  on  the  Universal 
Form, — and  the  performance  of  works  for  the  sake  of  the 
Lord  have  been  taught.  As  it  is  hinted— in  the  words  '  If 
thou  art  unable  to  do  this  either '(xii.  11)  — that  Karma- 
Yoga  is  associated  with  ignorance  (ajfiana),  we  should 
understand  that  the  Lord  here  means  to  say  that  Karma- 
yoga  is  not  meant  for  the  worshipper  of  the  Akshara,  for  him 
who  sees  no  distinction  (between  the  Lord  and  the  Self). 
Similarly,  the  Lord  shows  the  impossibility  of  the  worship 
of  the  Akshara  to  a  Karma-yogin.  To  explain  :  Having — 
in  the  words  'They  reach  Myself  (xii.  3) — declared  that  the 
worshippers  of  the  Akshara  are  independent  as  regards  the 
attainment  of  liberation  (kaivalya),  the  Lord  (xii.  7) 
has  shewn — in  the  words  '  for  them  I  become  the  deliverer' 

II  — 14.]  BHAKTI-YOGA.  273 

(xii.  7) — that  the  others  are  dependent  on  the  Lord,' on  an 
external  Being.  If  these  were  deemed  as  the  very* .Self  of 
the  Lord,  they  would  be  the  very  Akshara  themselves 
owing  to  their  realisation  of  the  identity ;_  so  that  it  would 
have  been  inappropriate  to  speak.ipf.thern  as  persons  to  be 
delivered  by  the  Lord.  M oreo ye*",.  "'^  the  Lord  who  is  pre- 
eminently a  well-wisher  c^y\.rjuuare(fom mends  to  him  only 
Karma-yoga  (iv.  15)  ba^e4  fOn  an  idea  of  distinction  and 
quite  dissociated  i^oi  right  knowledge.  Nor  would  any 
man  like  to  be  subordinate  to  another  after  knowing  him- 
self to  be  the  Lord>t^rough  proper  sources  of  right  know- 
ledge ;  for,  the  two  are  mutually  opposed  states.  There- 
fore t  it  is  with  reference  to  the  worshippers  of  the  Akshara, 
to  the  saw/nyasins  w^ho  are  devoted  to  right  knowledge  and 
have  abandoned  all  desires,  that  He  proceeds  to  teach 
those  attributes — such  as  '  absence  of  hatred  of  any  being  ' — 
which  form  the  direct  means  to  immortality . 

13-14.  He  who  hates  no  single  being,  who  is 
friendly  and  compassionate  to  all,  who  is  free  from 
attachment  and  egoism,  to  whom  pain  and  pleasure 
are  equal,  who  is  enduring,  ever  content  and 
balanced  in  mind,  self-controlled,  and  possessed  of 
firm  conviction,  whose  thought  and  reason  are 
directed  to  Me,  he  who  is  (thus)  devoted  to  Me  is 
dear  to  Me. 

He  hates  nothing,  not  even  that  which  causes  him  pain. 
He  regards  all  beings  as  himself.  He  is  friendly  and  com- 
passionate. He  is  full  of  compassion  for  the  distressed  ;  /.  c, 

*  This  is  another  reason  why  Karma-  +  Because    the  attributes    mentioned 

yoga  cannot  be  combined  with  Akshara-  below  cannot,  all  of  them,  be  cultivated 

Upasana  in  one  and   the  same  person  at  by   the   followers  of    Karma,    who    are 

one  and  the  same  time.— (A).  ignorant  of  Self— (A). 


274  "^^'E  BHAGAVAD-GlTA.  [DlS.XII. 

h^has.  offered  security  of  life  to  all  beings,  he  is  a  sawnya- 
sin, ''b^-eidQes  not  regard  anything  as  '  mine  '  and  is  free 
from  eg^di-sm,  froii^  the  notion  of  '  I  '.  Pain  and  pleasure  do 
not  cause  in  him  hatred  and  attachment.  He  remains  un- 
affected when  abused  or'beaten.  He  is  always  content  ;  he 
thinks  he  has  enoiigh  whetiier  he  obtains  or  not  the  means 
of  bodily  sustenance.  He  i.s  Also 'satisfied  whether  he  comes 
by  a  good  thing  or  not.  He  iS  fi  yoglri,  always  steadfast  in 
thought.  lie  has  a  iirin  conviction  regarding  the  essential 
nature  of  the  Self.  This  sa;//nyasin  has  directed  to  Me  exclu- 
sively his  Manas — purposes  and  thoughts — a?  well  as  his 
Buddhi — the  faculty  of  determining.  Such  a  devotee  is 
dear  to  Me.  /The  same  truth  which  was  indicated  in 
vii.  17 — '  I  am  very  dear  to  the  wise  man  and  he  is  dear  to 
Me  ' — is  here  described  at  length. 

15.  He  b)-  whum  the  \\'or]d  is  not  afflicted  and 
who  is  not  afflicted  by  the  world,  who  is  free  from 
jov,  envy,  fear  and  sorrow,  he  is  dear  to  Me. 

He  :  the  sawnyusin.  Joy  consists  in  the  elevation  or 
exhilaration  of  tlie  mind  (anta//-kara;7a)  on  attaining  an 
object  of  desire,  and  is  indicated  by  horripilation,  tears, 
and  so  on. 

16  He  who  is  free  from  wants,  who  is  pure, 
clever,  unconcerned,  untroubled,  renouncing  all 
undertakings,  he  who  is  (thus)  devoted  to  Me  is 
dear  to  i\Ie. 

He  is  indifferent  to  the  body,  the  senses,  the  sense- 
objects  and  their  mutual  connections.  He  is  possessed  of 
purity  both  internal  and  external.  He  is  able  to  decide 
rightly  on  the  spot  in  matters  demanding  prompt  attention. 


14 — 19-]  BHAKTI-YOGA.  2 


He  does  not  take  the  side  of  a  friend  and  the  lilc^.     >je 

habitually  renounces  all  actions  calculated  t"  bccuxe  objects 

of  desire,  whether  of  this  world  or  of  the  uext. 

Moreover,  ,,: 

iC  hadn  .•      • 

17.  He  who  neither  ici'.'icpSf^j^yjf  hates,  nor 
^'rieves,  nor  desires,  renou^^in^'  t(Q(^'':iii<l  evil,  he 
who  is  full  of  devot^<»i  is  cjear  to  Mc. 

He  does  not  rcji^ce,!  _     what  is   desirable.     He' 

does  not  fret  up  .attaitiiq*,'  \yh;ii  is  undesirable.  He  does  not 
grieve  un  l^\p<^  to  part  with  a    beloved  object,     lie  does| 
not  desire  tlj,&,ii|iattained. 

18- 1  (J.  ^He  who  is  the  same  to  foe  and  friend, 
and  also  in  honor  and  dishonor:  who  is  the  same  in 
cold  and  heat,  in  pleasure  and  pain:  who  is  free 
from  attachment:  to  whom  censure  and  praise  are 
equal:  who  is  silent,  content  with  anxthin::^,  home- 
less, steady-minded,  full  of  devotion  :  that  man  is 
dear  to  Me. 

He  has  no  attachment    for    objects  of   any    kind.     He  is 
content  with  thr    Ivirt'    means  of   bodily    r.uistenance.      It  .s .' 
said  (in   tin^     \r;ihahharata), 

'W'H.i  is  <lad  xvirh  ;tny;  Iiin^.  wh,,  i>  1^,1  ,,|,  ^ny  joixl. 
who  lies  down  anywhere;  him  the  Gods  call  a  brah- 
ma«a.  {Santi-pan<a,Moksha-Dharma,2^yi2). 

He  has   no    hxed  abode,  he   is   'houseless'  as  has   been 
said  in  another  sniriti.   His   thought  is  fixed  steadily  on  the  i 
Supreme  Reality. 

The  enumeration,  which  was  connnenced  in  xii.   13,   of 
the  various  attributes  of  the  sawnyiisins — the  worshippers  of 

276  THE    BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.  XII. 

t,he  Akshara  who  are  constantly  devoted  to  the  knowledge 
01  the  Supreme  Reality — is  concluded  as  follows  : 

20.  They,  verily,  who  follow  this  immortal 
Law  described  above,  endued  with  faith,  looking 
upto  Me  asthe  Siipremc,  and  devoted,  they  are 
exceeding!}'  ^ear  to  Mc. 

They  :  the  sa;/niyasiris.  Immortal:  as  leading  to  immorta- 
lity. Above:  in  the  porlion'begannlng  with  xii.  13.  Looking 
up  to  Me  as  the  Supreme  :  whose  highest  Unsurpassed  goal  is 
Myself,  the  Imperishable  Self.  Deveted  :  Vd^rting  to  the 
highest  devotion,  which  consists  in  th^^'teotv^ledge  of  the 
Supreme  Reality.  What  was  implied  in  the  words,  '  I  am 
exceedingly  dear  to  the  wise  man'  (vii.  12)  has  been  ex- 
plained at  length  and  concluded  here  thus :  '  They  are 
exceedingly  dear  to  me.'  The  meaning  of  the  verse  is  : 
Because  he  who  follows  the  Immortal  Law  which  has  been 
now  described  becomes  exceedingly  dear  to  \'ish7m,  the 
Supreme  Lord,  therefore  this  Immortal  Law  should  be 
zealously  followed  by  every  seeker  of  Liberation,  by  every 
one  who  desires  to  attain  to  the  Supreme  Abode  of  Vish;m. 

— »33-K**^*-s<» — 


The  main   subject   of   the    discourse. 

In  the  Seventh  Discourse  two  Prakntis  (Natures)  of  the 
Supreme  Lord  were  shown, — the  one  composed  of  the  three 
gu»as  and  divided  eightfold,  forming  th^  inferior  (apara) 
Prak/'iti,  because  of  its  being  the  cause  of  sawsara  or  mun- 
dane life  ;  and  the  other,  the  superior  (para)  Prak/dti,  form- 
ing the  very  life  (jiva),  the  Kshetraj;ia  or  '  the  Knower  of 
Matter  ,  being  essentially  one  with  the  Lord  Himself. 
And  through  these  two  Prakntis,  the  Lord  becomes  the 
cause  of  the  origin,  sustenance  and  dissolution  of  the 
Universe.  Now  this  discourse  on  Kshetra  (Matter)  is  com- 
menced with  a  view — by  way  of  describing  the  two 
Prakritis  of  Kshetra  and  Kshetraj/^a — to  determine  the 
essential  nature  of  their  possessor,  the  Lord  (Isvara). 

Again,  in  the  last  preceding  discourse,  from  verse  13  to 
the  end,  the  path  of  the  sa/;myasins  who  possess  the  know- 
ledge of  Truth, — i.e.,  what  sort  of  life  they  lead, — has  been 
described.  Now  arises  the  question  :  Possessed  of  what 
sort  of  knowledge  of  truth  do  they  become  dear  to  the  Lord 
by  following  the  rule  of  life  set  forth  above  ? — The  present 
discourse  is  also  intended  as  an  answer  to  this  question. 

The  body  and  the  soul. 

That  Praknti  which  is  composed  of  the  three  gu«as 
transforms  itself  into  all  objective  forms,  such  as  the  bodies 
(karya),  the  senses  (kara«a),  and  sense-objects  (vishaya), 
and  is  combined  into  various  aggregates  of  the  body  and 


the  senses,  to  subserve  the  two  ends  of  Purusha  or  Spirit, 
viz.,  enjoyment  and  liberation.  Such  an  aggregate  is  this, 
our  body.     In  reference  to  this  body,  the  Lord  says  : 

The  Blessed  Lord  said  : 

1.  This,  the  body,  O  son  of  Kunti,  is  called 
Kshctra  ;  him  who  knows  it,  th.'v  who  know  of 
them  call  Kshetrajna. 

In  the  words'  '  the  body '  the  Lord  specihes  the  thing 
referred  to  by  the  pronoun  'this.'  Kshetya — the  field,  the 
body,  matter — is  so-called  because  it  is  shielded  from 
injury,  or  because  it  is  destructible,  or  because  it  is  liable 
to  decay,  or  because  the  fruits  of  actions  are  reaped  in  it  as 
in  a  field.  This  body  is  designated  as  '  Kshetra,'  '  the  licld  ' 
'  matter.'  He  wlio  knows  this  Kshetra,  /.  e.,  he  who 
comprehends  it  in  understanding  from  head  to  foot,  I  ie  who 
perceives  it  as  distinct  from  himself  by  knowledge,  natural 
or  imparted  by  others, — him  they  designate  as  Kshetraj;?a, 
'  the  knower  of  the  field,'  '  tlie  comprehender  of  matter', — 
they  who  know  of  Kshetra  and  Kshetraj//a. 

Uleiitit\    «>1  the  soul   with  the   l.ord. 

riuis  Ksheira  an«.l  Pvsiieti;ij//a  Iiaxe  been  described.— 
Is  this  all  the  kiMwl«-'<h_je,  that  one  hns  tw  acrniiic  ;iIioni 
them  ? — ^No.    Listen  : 

2.  And  do  th(ju  also  know  Me  as  Kshetraj/za  in 
all  Kshetras,  O  Bharata.  The  knowledge  of 
Kshetra  and  Kshetraj^a  is  deemed  by  Me  as  the 

Do  thou  also  know  the  Kshetraj«a,  described  above,  to 
be  Myself,  tu   be  the  Supreme   Lord,  not  a  being   of  the 

2.]  MATTER  AN'D   SIMRIT.  279 

world  (sa/wsara).  The  nieaninjj;  is  this  : — The  Kshelraj«a 
who  is  in  all  Kshetras,  and  who  is  differentiated  by  the 
manifold  upadhis  or  Kshetras,  from  Brahma  down  to  a 
clump  of  grass,  is,  you  should  understand,  really  devoid  of 
all  the  various  upadhis  (conditions)  and  is  inaccessible  to 
any  such  word  or  thought  as  '  sat '  or  '  asat ',  existent  or  non- 
existent. As  nothing  else  remains  to  be  known  apart  from 
the  true  nature  of  Kshetra,  Kshetraj;/a  and  the  Isvara,  that 
knowledge  by  which  the  two  objects  of  knowledge,  Kshetra 
and  Kshetraj;>a,  are  known  is  considered  by  Me — the  Lord, 
Vish/m — to  be  the  right  knowledge. 

The  soul  is  subject  to  evil  only  through  ignorance. 

[Objection) : — If  only  one  Being,  namely,  Isvara,  exists  in 
all  Kshetras,  if  there  exists  no  being,  no  other  enjoyer, 
distinct  from  Him,  it  would  follow  either  that  the  Isvara  is 
a  sawsarin  ;  or  that  there  is  no  sa;//sara  because  there  is  no 
sa;//sarin,  none  else  apart  from  the  Isvara.  Neither 
conclusion  is  acceptable;  for,  tlien,  it  would  follow  that 
the  scriptures  which  treat  of  bondage  and  liberation  and 
their-  respective  causes  would  have  no  purpose  to  serve. 
Moreover,  the  conclusion  is  opposed  to  all  evidence,  includ- 
ing sensuous  perception  (pratyaksha).  In  the  first  place, 
pleasure  and  pain  and  their  causes,  which  together  consti- 
tute the  sa/«sara,  are  known  to  us  by  immediate  perception. 
And  from  our  perception  of  variety  in  the  world  may  also 
be  inferred  the  existence  of  sa;«sara  arising  from  dharma 
and  a-dharma.  All  this  would  be  inexplicable  if  the  Atman 
and  the  Isvara,  the  Self  and  the  Lord,   be  identical. 

(Aiis7i:'er) : — No;  for,  that  can  be  explained  as  due  to  a 
distinction  between  j/(ana  and  aj//ana,  between  knowledge 
and  ignorance.     It  has  been  said: 


"  These,  what   is   known  as   wisdom   and    what   is 
known  as  unwisdom,  are  quite   distinct    and    lead    to 
different  goals." — (Ka^ha-Up.  ii.  4.) 
And  so  also    a  distinction  through  effect    between   vidya 
and  avidya,  wisdom   and   unwisdom,    as   producing  quite 
opposite  results, — the  right  and  the  sweet, — is  pointed  out 
(in  the  same  Upanishad  and  in  the  same  context),    wisdom 
leading   to    the    right,    while    the    sweet  is    the    effect    of 
unwisdom.     Accordingly,  Vyasasays: 

'  Then  there   are   these  two  paths,  &c.' — (Moksha- 
dharma,  24-6.) 

'There  are  only  these  two  paths,'  &c. 

Here  (in  the  Gita)  also  two  paths  have  been  spoken  of. 
Now,  we  learn  from  the  sruti,  smriti  and  reasoning,  that 
unwisdom  with  its  effect  should  be  got  rid  of.  As  to  the 
sruti,  the  following  passages  may  be  quoted  : 

"  If  in  this  world  a  person  knows  (the  Self),  then  the 
true  end  is  gained  ;  if  a  person  in  this  world  does  not 
know  (the  Self),  then  there  will  be  a  great  calamity." — 
(Kena-Upanishad,  2-5). 

'  He  who  knows  Him  (the  Supreme  Self)  thus  be- 
comes immortal  here  ;  there  is  no  other  way  to  reach 
the  Goal.' — (Purusha-sukta.) 

'  The  wise  man  is  afraid  of  nothin.-j  '  — (Taittiriya- 
Upanishad,  2-4). 

As  regards  the  ignorant  person  : — 

'But  to  him  there  is  the  fear  (of  saw/sara).'~(Ibid.  2-7.) 

'  Those  who  live  in  the  midst  of  avidya  or  ignorance 

2.]  MATTER  AND  SPIRIT.  28l 

go  round  and  with  an  erring  step,  deluded  as  blind 

peopls  led  by  the  blind  ! ' — (KaHia-Upanishad.  2-5). 

'  He  who  knows  Brahman  is  Brahman  Itself.' — 
(Mu7irfaka-Up.  3-2-9). 

"  Whoever  worships  another  Deity,  thinking  'He  is 
another,  another  am  I,'  he  does  not  know  ;  for,  he  is  like 
a  beast  for  the  Gods." — (Bnhadara/iyaka-Up.  1-4-10). 

As  to  him  who  knows  the    Self, 

'He  becomes  all  this.' — {Ibid.  1-4-10). 

"  When  men  can  roll  up  the  sky  like  leather,  then 
( only,  not  till  then )  can  the  end  of  sorrow  be,  without 
men  knowing    God"  (>Sveta  .Up.  6-20). 

And  passages  from  the  smriti — the  Bhagavad-GIta  v.  15, 
ig,  and  xiii.  28, — -may  also  be  quoted.  By  reasoning  (nyaya) 
also  we  come  to  the  same  conclusion.  It  is  said : 

*  Men  avoid  by  knowledge  serpents,  thorns  and  wells  ; 
by  ignorance  some  fall  into  them  ;  see  how  estimable  is 
the  effect  of  knowledge.' — (Mokshadharma,  201-16) 

Thus*  we  see  that  an  ignorant  man  regards  the  physical 
body,  etc.,  as  the  Self,  is  impelled  by  attachment  and  hatred 
and  the  like,  performs  righteous  and  unrighteous  deeds 
(Dharma  and  A-dharma),  and  is  born  and  dead,  while  those 
are  liberated  who,  knowing  the  Self  to  be  distinct  from  the 
body  and  the  like,  give  up  attachment  and  hatred,  and  no 
longer  engage  in  righteous  or  unrighteous  deeds  to  which 
those  passions  may  lead.  This  nobody  can  deny  by  argu- 
ment.  Suchf  being  the  case,  the  Kshetrajna,  who  is  the 
Isvara  Himself,  appears  to  be  a  sa7«sarin  owing  to  a  distinct- 

*  Here  follows  the  nyaya  or  reasoning  f  Knowledge  and  ignorance  being,  as 

above  referred  to.— (A).  shewn    above,    distinct  in  kind  and   in 



ion  in  the  upadhis  set  up  by  avidya,  in  the  same  way  that 
the  Atman  or  individual  Self  appears  (by  avidya)  to  be 
identical  with  the  physical  body,  &c.  It  is  a  well-ascer- 
tained truth  that  that  notion  of  identity  of  the  individual 
Self  with  the  not-Self, — with  the  physical  body  and  the 
like, — which  is  common  to  all  mortal  creatures  is  caused  by 
avidya,  just  as  a  pillar  (in  darkness)  is  mistaken  (through 
avidya)  for  a  human  being.  But  thereby  no  essential  quality 
of  the  man  is  actually  transferred  to  the  pillar,  nor  is  any 
essential  quality  of  the  pillar  actually  transferred  to  the  man. 
Similarly,  consciousness  never  actually  pertains  to  the  body  ; 
neither  can  it  be  that  any  attributes  of  the  body — such  as 
pleasure,  pain  and  dulness — actually  pertain  to  Conscious- 
ness, to  the  Salf ;  for,  like  decay  and  death,  such  attributes 
are  ascribed  to  the  Self   through    avidya, 

Kshetrajna  is  really    unaffected  by  samsara. 

(Objection) : — No,  the  two  cases  are  dissimilar.  The 
pillar  and  the  man  are  boljt  objects  of  cognition  (  i.e.,  exter- 
nal to  the  Self)  and  are  as  such  mistaken  one  for  the  other 
by  the  cogniser  through  avidya,  whereas  you  say  that  the 
body  and  the  Self,  which  are  respectively  the  cognised  and 
the  cogniser,  are  mistaken  one  for  the  other.  Thus  the  illus- 
tration differs  from  what  has  to  be  illustrated.  Wherefore''' 
the  attribute  of  the  body,  though  an  object  of  cognition, 
actually  pertains  to  the  Self,  the  cogniser. 

(Ansu'er)  : — No;  for,  then  the  Self  would  also  become 
unconscious,  &c.    If  the  attributes — such  as  pleasure,  pain, 

effect,  the  Supreme   Beiiif;   and    the   in-  rin— an  illusion  se:  up  by  avidya.— (A), 

dividual  Self  must  be  essentially  identi-  *  The  identifying  of  the  Self  with  the 

cal,  though,  through  the  upadhis  such  as  body  being  no  mere  illusion  (bhrama). 
Buddhi,  the  Self  appears  to  be  a  saHisa- 

2.]  MATTER   AND    SPIRIT.  283 

delusion,  desire,  hatred— of  the  body,  etc.,  i.  e.  of  Kshetra 
(Matter)  which  is  an  object  of  cognition,  could  ever  pertain 
to  the  Self,  the  cogniser,  then  it  would  be  necessary  to 
state  a  reason  for  the  difference, — i.  e.,  to  explain  why  a  few 
attributes  only  of  Khetra  (an  object  of  cognition)  which  are 
ascribed  to  the  Self  by  avidya  actually  pertain  to  the  Self, 
while  others  such  as  decay  and  death  do  not.  On  the  other 
hand,  we  are  led  to  infer  that  those  qualities  of  Kshetra 
do  not  actually  pertain  to  the  Self,  because,  like  decay 
and  death,  they  also  are  attributed  to  the  Self  by  avidya  ; 
as  also  because  they  are  objects  shunned  or  sought  for,  and 
so  on.  Such  being  the  case, — inasmuch  as  sa»/sara  which 
consists  in  doing  and  enjoying,  and  which  has  its  root  in  the 
cognized,  is  only  attributed  to  the  cognizer  by  avidya, — the 
cogniser  is  not  thereby  affected,  just  as  the  akasa  or  ether 
is  not  affected  by  the  attributes  of  dirtiness  and  concavity 
which  are  ascribed  to  it  by  children  through   ignorance. 

Thus,  it  cannot  be  imagined  that  the  Kshetrajila,  the 
Lord,  though  existing  in  all  Kshetras,  can  ever  so  much 
as  smell  of  the  nature  of  a  saw/sarin.  Nowhere  in  our  ex- 
perience have  we  found  anything  rtn proved  or  spoiled  by  a 
quality  being  falsely  attributed  through  avidya. 

As  to  the  contention  that  the  illustration  is  not  quite 
analogous,  we  reply  that  it  is  wrong  to  say  so. — Why  ? — 
For,  the  intended  point  of  agreement  between  the  illustra- 
tion and  the  thing  illustrated  consists  in  something  being 
falsely  attributed  through  ignorance.  In  this  respect,  both 
agree.  But  as  to  the  contention  thai  no  false  attribution 
of  the  qualities  of  the  object  to  the  subject  is  ever  experi- 
enced, it  has  been  shewn  that  even  this  contention  fails  in 
the  case  of  decay  and  death. 


Avidya  inheres  in  the  organ,   not  in  the  5elf. 

( Objection  ):— As  possessed  of  avidya,  Kshetrajna  is  a 

{Answer): — No;  for  avidya  is  born  of  Tamas.  As  partak- 
ing of  the  nature  of  a  veil,  avidya — whether  causing  percep- 
tion of  what  is  quite  the  contrary  of  truth,  or  causing  doubt, 
or  causing  nescience  or  non-perception  of  a  truth — ^is  a 
Tamasic  notion,  i  e.,  a  notion  born  of  Tamas  ;  for,  on  the 
dawn  of  the  light  of  discrimination,  it  disappears ;  and 
( for  instance)  we  find  the  same  three  modes  of  avidya — 
such  as  non-perception,  &c., — arising  also  ixom.  timiva  [sxi 
eye-disease  causing  dimness  of  sight ),  which  is  Tamasic, 
as  partaking  of  the  nature  of  a   veil." 

[Objection): — Then  avidya  is  an  inherent  property  (dharma) 
of  the  cogniser. 

[Ansiver): — No;  for,  we  see  that  it  is  the  organ  of  sight 
that  is  affected  with  the  disease  of  timira. 

[To  explain): — You  (the  opponent)  say:  Avidya  is  an 
inherent  property  of  the  cogniser.  As  possessed  of  this 
avidya,  Kshetrajua  is  a  sawsarin.  It  is  therefore  unjust  to 
say  that  Kshetrajua  is  the  Isvara  Himself  and  not  a  sawsarin. 

We  reply :  It  is  not  right  to  say  so ;  for,  we  see  that  such 
diseases  as  lead  to  the  perception  of  what  is  contrary  to 
truth,  and  so  on,  pertain  to  the  eye,  to  the  organ.  Neither 
the  perception  of  what  is  contrary  to  truth,  nor  the  cause 
thereof  {  viz.,  ih.e  disease  of  ^m/ra),  pertains  to  the  perci- 
pient ;  for,  when  timira  is  removed  by  the  treatment  of  the 
eye,  the  percipient  is  no  longer  subject  to  such  perception, 

*  That  is  to  say,    the  three  forms  of      are  not  therefore  attributes  of  the  SeU^ 
avidya  are  due  to  a  certain  disorder,   and      (A),  •  ,, 

2.]  MATTER  AND  SPIRIT.  285 

which  is  therefore  not  a  property  of  the  percipient.  Similarly, 
non-perception,  false  perception,  and  doubt,  as  well  as  their 
cause,  properly  pertain  the  instrument,  to  one  or  another 
sense-organ,  but  not  to  the  Kshetrajna,  the  cogniser. 
Moreover,  they  are  all  objects  of  cognition  and  cannot 
therefore  form  the  properties  of  the  cogniser,  any  more  than 
the  light  of  a  lamp.  And  because  they  are  cognisable,  it 
follows  also  that  they  can  be  cognised  only  through  some 
organ  which  is  distinct  from  the  cogniser  ;  and  no  philosoph- 
er admits  that,  in  the  state  of  liberation  wherein  all  the 
sense-organs  are  absent,  there  is  any  such  evil  as  avidya.  If 
they  (false  perception,  &c.)  were  essential  properties  of  the 
Self,  of  the  Kshetrajila,  as  the  heat  is  an  essential  property  of 
fire,  there  could  be  no  getting  rid  of  them  at  any  time  ;  and 
it  is  impossible  for  the  immutable  and  formless  Self,  all- 
pervading  like  the  akasa,  to  unite  or  part  with  anything 
whatsoever.  Wherefore  we  conclude  that  the  Kshetrajna 
is  ever  identical  with  Isvara.  The  Lord  also  says,  "  Being 
beginningless  and  without  qualites.""   (.xiii.  31  ). 

Scriptural  injunctions  apply  only 
to  the  state  of  bondage. 

{Objection): — Then,  in  the  absence  of  sawsara  and  saw/sarins, 
the  conclusion  is  inevitable  that  the  sastra  or  scripture 
serves  no  purpose,  and  so  on. 

[Answer): — No ;  for,  it  is  admitted  by  all.  The  burden 
of  explaining  an  objectionable  point  admitted  into  their 
systems  by  all  those  philosophers  who  argue  the  existence 
of  Atraan  does  not  lie  on  only  one  of  them — In  what  way 
do  all  classes  of  philosophers  admit  into  their  systems  this 

■^  The  Lord  teaches  here  that  the  Self  is  devoid  of  attributes.— (A.) 

286  THE    BHAGAVAD-GtTA.  [DiS.  XIII. 

objectionable  point? — All  philosophers  who  admit  the  exis- 
tence of  a  Self  agree  that  liberated  Selfs  are  not  conscious 
of  sa;«sara  or  of  the  state  of  being  bound  to  sa;«sa,ra ;  still,  it 
is  not  beliv^ed  that  their  systems  are  open  to  the  objection 
that  the  sastra  serves  no  purpose.  So,  according  to  our 
view,  when  the  Kshetrajnas  become  one  with  the  Lord, 
then  let  the  sistra  serve  no  purpose.  It  has,  however,  a 
purpose  to  serve  where  there  is  avidya.  Just  as,  with  the 
dualists  (dvaitins)  of  all  classes,  the  sastra  has  a  purpose 
to  serve  only  in  the  state  of  bondage,  but  not  in  the  state  of 
liberation,  so  with  us  also. 

Bondage  and  liberation  are  not  real  states 
of  the  5elf . 
{Objection): — All  dualistic  philosophers  (Dvaitins)  hold  that 
states  of  bondage  and  liberation  are  real  conditions  of  the 
Self,  real  in  the  literal  sense  of  the  term.  Since  thus 
there  really  exist,  something  to  be  avoided  and  something  to 
be  attained,  as  also  the  means  thereto,  the  sastra  has  some 
purpose  to  serve.  But  in  the  case  of  the  non-dualists 
(Advaitins),  the  dual  world  is  unreal ;  and  as  the  bondage 
of  the  Self  is  caused  by  avidya,  it  is  also  unreal.  Thus  the 
sdstra  would  have  no  subject  to  treat  of  and  would  therefore 
serve  no  purpose. 

[Ansuey): — No  ;  for,  the  Self  cannot  (really)  exist  in  differ- 
ent states. — If  bondage  and  liberation  be  states  of  the  Self, 
they  must  be  either  simultaneous  or  successive.  They  can- 
not be  simultaneous  states  of  the  Self  as  they  are  mutually 
opposed,  just  as  motion  and  rest  cannot  be  simultaneous 
states  of  one  and  the  same  thing.  If  successive,  they  are 
either  caused  or  uncaused  by  another.  If  uncaused  by 
another,  there  can  be  no  liberation,     If  caused  by  another, 

2.]  MATTER   AND    SPIRIT.  287 

they  cannot  be  inherent  in  the  Self  and  cannot  therefore  be 
real.  And  this  is  opposed  to  the  hypothesis^'S  Moreover, 
if  we  would  determine  the  order  of  their  occurrence,  the 
state  of  bondage  should  come  first,  without  a  beginning,  but 
having  an  end  ;  and  this  is  opposed  to  all  evidence.  Similarly, 
it  has  to  be  admitted  that  the  state  of  liberation  has  a  begin- 
ning and  has  no  end  ;  which  is  alike  opposed  to  all  evidence. 
Nor  is  it  possible  to  maintain  the  eternality  of  that  which 
passes  from  one  state  to  another. 

Now,  if,  in  order  to  avoid  the  objection  of  non-eternality, 
it  be  held  that  the  states  of  bondage  and  liberation  do  not 
pertain  to  the  Self,  then  even  the  dualists  cannot  avoid 
the  objection  that  the  sastra  has  no  purpose  to  serve.  The 
dualists  and  the  non-dualists  being  thus  similarly  situated, 
the  burden  of  answering  the  objection  does  not  lie  on  the 
non-dualists  alone. 

Scriptural  injunctions  concern  the  unenlightened. 

In  point  of  fact,  the  objection  that  the  sastra  would  have 
no  purpose  to  serve  cannot  be  brought  against  non-dualism  ; 
for,  the  5astra  is  concerned  with  the  ignorant  who  view 
things  as  they  present  themselves  to  their  consciousness. — 
It  is,  indeed,  the  ignorant  who  identify  themselves  with  the 
cause  and  the  effect  I  ,  with  the  not-Self.  But  not  the  wise ; 
for,  these  latter  do  not  identify  themselves  with  the  cause  and 
the  effect,  since  they  know  that  the  Self  is  distinct  from  the 
cause  and  the  effect.  Not  even  the  dullest  or  the  most 
insane  person  regards  water  and  fire,  or  light  and  darkness, 
as  identical  ;how  much  less  a  wise  man.  Wherefore,  the  in- 

*  That  the  states  of  bondage  and  libera-       enjoyment;  or   the    cause  is   karma,    a- 
tion  are  real  conditions  of  the  Self.  drish/a,  and  the  effect  is  the  body  to  which 

t  The  cause  is  agency  and  the  effect  is      karma  has  given  rise.— (A.) 

288  THE  bhagavad-gIta.  [Dis.XIII. 

junctions  and  prohibitions  of  the  sastra  do  not  apply  to  him 
who  knows  the  Self  to  be  distinct  from  the  cause  and  the 
effect.  Of  course,  when  a  certain  person  has  been  commanded 
to  do  an  action  in  the  words  "  Do  this,  O  Devadatta,"  no 
other  person,  such  as  Vish;m-mitra,  though  standing  near 
and  hearing  the  word  of  command,  thinks  that  he  (Vish;m- 
mitra)  has  been  so  ordered  ;  he  might,  however,  think  so  if 
he  did  not  understand  to  whom  the  injunction  has  been  ad- 
dressed. So,  too,  in  the  case  of  the  cause  and  the  effect  here. 

(Objection): — Notwithstanding  his  knowledge  that  the  Self 
is  unconnected  with  the  cause  and  the  effect,  it  is  quite 
possible  for  a  wise  man  to  regard  himself — in  reference  to 
the  connection  (between  the  Self  and  the  body,  etc., )  once 
set  up  by  avidya  (prakn'ti) — as  still  bound  by  the  injunc- 
tions of  the  sastra,  thinking  that  he  has  been  enjoined  to 
adopt  a  certain  course  of  action  by  which  to  attain  a  desir- 
able end,  and  to  avoid  a  certain  other  course  of  action 
which  leads  to  an  evil ;  just  as  a  father  and  his  sons  ■'- 
regard  every  one  among  themselves  as  bound  by  the  in- 
junctions and  prohibitions  addressed  to  every  other,  not- 
withstanding their  knowledge  that  they  are  all  persons 
distinct  from  each  other. 

(Ansaier): — No;  it  is  only  prior  to  the  knowledge  of  the 
Self  unconnected  with  causes  and  effects  that  it  is  possible 
>  for  one  to  identify  the  Self  with  them;  for,  it  is  only  after 
having  duly  observed  the  injunctions  and  prohibitions  of  the 
sastra — but  not  beforef — that  a  person  attains  to  the 
knowledge  that  the  Self  is  quite  unconnected  with  causes 
and  effects.  Hence   the  conclusion  that  the  injunctions  and 

*  Vide  Bnha.  Up.  1-5-17.  t  Vide  Vedanta-Sutras  III.  iv.  26-27. 

2.]  MATTER  AND  SPIRIT.  289 

prohibitions  of  the   sastra  concern  only  the  ignorant. 

{Objection): — Neither  those  who  know  that  tlie  Self  is 
independent  of  the  body,  etc.,  nor  those  who  regard  the 
mere  body  as  the  Self  are,  (according  to  non-dualists), 
concerned  with  the  injunctions  such  as  "  He  who  desires 
svargamust  sacrifice,'  "  Let  none  eat  kalanja  "  ;  thus,  there 
being  no  person  who  would  observe  scriptural  injunctions, 
the  5astra  would  have  no  purpose  to  serve. 

[Ansiver): — Performance  of  enjoined  acts  and  abstention 
from  prohibited  acts  are  possible  in  the  case  of  those  who 
know  of  the  Self  only  through  the  Scriptures. — He  who 
knows  Brahman  and  has  realised  the  identity  of  the  Kshetra- 
jna  with  the  Lord  does  not  certainly  engage  in  the  Vedic 
rites.  Neither  does  the  person  who  denies  the  existence  of 
the  Self  and  of  the  other  world  engage  in  such  rites.  But,  " 
he  who  derives  his  idea  of  the  Self  only  from  the  scriptural 
injunctions, — i.e.,  who  believes  in  the  existence  of  the  Self  " 
because  the  teaching  of  the  sastra  enjoining  certain  actions 
and  prohibiting  (certain  others)  would  otherwise  be  inex- 
plicable, but  who  does  not  directly  know  the  Self  in  His 
essential  nature, — cherishes  a  longing  for  the  results  of  the 
Vedic  rites  and  devoutly  performs  them  :  a  fact  which  is 
evident  to  us  all.  Wherefore,  it  cannot  be  said  that  the 
sastra  would  have  no  purpose  to  serve. 

{Objection): — On  seeing  the  wise  not  performing  Vedic 
rites,  their  followers  also  may  not  perform  them  ;  and  thus 
the  sastra  would  serve  no  purpose  at  all. 

{Ansimr): — No  ;  for,  very   rare  is  the  person  who  attains 

*  Knowing  nothing  more  than  that   tho       conviction   being  formed  on  the  basis   of 
Self  exists  and  survives  the  body ;  this      the  teaching  of  the  Karma-ku)u/a, 


290  THE    BHAGAVAD-GtTA  [DiS.    XIII. 

wisdom.  It  is,  indeed,  only  one  among  many  that  attains 
wisdom,  as  we  now  see.  Nor  do  the  ignorant  follow  the 
wise  men  ;  for,  attachment  and  other  evil  passions  neces- 
sarily lead  to  action.  We  do  see  people  engaging  in  the 
practice  of  Black  Magic. ^'^  Lastly,  action  is  natural  to  man, 
as  has  been  said  already,  "  It  is  nature  that  acts"  (v. 14). 

Therefore,  sa;;zsara  is  only  based  on  avidya  and  exists 
only  for  the  ignorant  man  who  sees  the  world  as  it  appears 
to  him.  Neither  avidya  nor  its  efltect  pertains  to  Kshetrajfia 
pure  and  simple.  Nor  is  illusory  knowledge  able  to  affect 
the  Real  Thing.  The  water  of  the  mirage,  for  instance, 
can  by  no  means  render  the  saline  soil  miry  with  moisture. 
So,  too,  avidya  can  do  nothing  to  Kshetrajfia.  Wherefore 
it  has  been  said,  '  Do  thou  also  know  Me  as  Kshetrajfia' 
(xiii.  2) ;  and  'By  unwisdom  wisdom  is  covered'  (v.  15). 

Learned  but  deluded. 

{Ohjcctioii): — How  is  it  that  the  learned  (paw^its)  also  feel^ — 
"  I  am  so  and  sot,"  "  this:t  is  mine," — like  the  sa;//sarins  ? 

{Answer): — Listen.  Their  learning  consists  in  regarding 
the  body  itself  as  their   Self  !  § 

If,  on    the   other   hand,  they   really  see  the   immutable 
Kshetraj«a,  they  would  desire  neither  pleasure  nor  action  • 
with   the   attachment    '  let  it  be    mine' ;  for,  pleasure   and 
action  are  but  changes  of  state. 

•  This  fact  shews  that  the  ignorant  do  §  That  is  to  say,  those  who  hold  this 

not  always  follow  the  wise  men.    In  spite  belief  are  not  pa«rfits  in  the  proper  sense 

of  protests  of  wise  men,   we  find    some  of  the  term.     We  do  admit  the    existence 

ignorant  men   resorting    to   Sorcery  or  of  such   a  belief;    only   we  regard   it   as 

Black  Magic.  pratibhasika,  as  due  to  illusion,  while,  in 

t  Referring  to  superior  birth,  etc.  point  of  afiso/Mfe  truth,  the  Self  is  unaflect- 

X  Referring  to  wife,  children,  etc.  ^^  ^^  sawisara. 


Thus,  then,  it  is  the  ignorant  man  who,  longing  for  results, 
engages  in  action.  The  wise  man,  on  the  contrary,  who  sees 
the  immutable  Self,  cherishes  no  longing  for  results  .and_ 
does  not  therefore  engage  in  action ;  and  when,  as  a  conse- 
quence, the  activity  of  the  aggregate — of  the  body  and  the 
senses — ceases,  we  say,  only  figuratively,  that  he  abstains 
from  action. 

There  is,  again,  another  sort  of  learning  professed  by  some 
other  (class  of  paz/^its),  which  may  be  stated  as  follows: — 
The  Lord  Himself  is  Kshetraj«a,  and  Kshetra  is  quite  dist- 
inct from  Kshetraj«a  who  perceives  it ;  but  I  am  a  sawsarin 
subject  to  pleasure  and  pain.  To  bring  about  the  cessation 
of  sawisara  I  should  first  acquire  a  discriminative  knowledge 
of  Kshetra  and  Kshetraj«a,  then  attain  a  direct  perception 
of  the  Kshetraj/ia,  the  Lord,  by  means  of  dhyanaor  medita- 
tion of  the  Lord,  and  then  dwell  in  the  true  nature  of 
the  Lord.-''  He  who  is  given  to  know  thus  and  he  who 
teaches  thus! ,  neither  of  them  is  the  Kshetraj^a. 

He  who  holds  this  view  and  hopes  to  make  out  that  the 
Scistra  concerning  bondage  and  liberation  has  a  meaning  is 
the  meanest  of  the  learned.  He  is  the  slayer  of  the  Self. 
Ignorant  in  himself,  he  confounds  others,  devoid  as  he  is 
of  the  traditional  key  (sampradaya)  to  the  teaching  of  the 
sastras.  Ignoring  what  is  directly  taught +  ,  he  suggests 
what  is  not  taught.     Therefore,  not  being  acquainted  with 

*  The  individual  Ego  is  distinct  from  ^  •  ^    ^^^  p^,pj,  ^^^  ^^^  teacher-(A) 

the   Lord,    and   should  strive  to  attain  j  In  such  passages  as  "That  Thou  art'' 

to  the  state  of  /svara  by  means  of  the  ..This  Self  is  Brahman.  "-(Ma..rfukya^ 

knowledge  which  can  be  brought  about  tj-    > 
through  dhyana.— (A) 

292  THE  BHAGAVAD-GiTA.  [DiS.    XIII. 

the  traditional  interpretation,  he  is   to  be   neglected   as  an 
ignorant  man,  though  learned  in  all  sastras. 

The  relation  of  the  Self  to  samsara  is  a  mere  illusion. 

Now  as  to  the  objections  that  the  Isvara  would  be  a  sam- 
s4rin  if  He  be  one  with  Kshetraj;/a,  and  that  if  Kshetrajwas 
be  one  witli  the  Isvara  there  can  be  no  sa/z^sara  because 
there  is  no  sa;«sarin  :  these  objections  have  been  met  by 
saying  that  knowledge  and  ignorance  are  distinct  in  kind  and 
in  effects,  as  admitted  by  all/'^ — To  explain  :  The  Real  Entity 
{viz.,  isvara)  is  not  affected  by  the  defect  (sawsara)  attributed 
to  Him  through  ignorance  of  that  Real  Entity.  This  has  also 
been  illustrated  by  the  fact  that  the  water  of  the  mirage 
does  not  wet  the  saline  soil.  And  the  objection  raised  on 
the  ground  that  in  the  absence  of  a  sawsarin  there  can  be 
no  sawisara  has  been  answered  by  explaining  that  the  sa;«sara 
and  the  sa///sarin  are  creatures  of  avidya. 

{Objection) : — The  very  fact  that  Kshetrajua  is  possessed 
of  avidya  makes  Him  a  sa;«sarin  ;  and  the  eftect  thereof — 
happiness  and  misery  and  so  on — is  directly  perceived. 

{Ansii/ci')  — No  ;  for,  what  is  perceived  is  an  attribute 
of  Kshetra  (matter) ;  and  Kshetraj«a,  the  cogniser,  cannot 
be  vitiated  by  the  l^lemish  due  to  it.  To  explain  : 
whatever  blemish — not  inhering  in  KshetraJ7/a — you  ascribe 
to  Him,  it  comes  under  the  cognised,  and  therefore  forms  a 
property  of  Kshetra,  and  not  a  property  of  Kshetrajua.  Nor 
is  Kshetraj/ja  affected  by  it,  since  such  intimate  association 
of  the  cogniser  and  the  cognised  is  impossible.  If  there 
should  be  such  an  association,  then  that  blemish  could  not 

*  That  is  to   say,  by   saying  that   the       while   illusion   makes  Kshetrajua  a  saHi- 
Lord    and   the   soul  are   one   in  reality,       sarin— (A). 

2.]  MATTER   AND    SPIRIT.  293 

be  cognised.  That  is  to  say,  if  misery  and  nescience 
were  properties  of  the  Self,  how  could  they  be  objects  of 
immediate  perception'''?  Or,  how  could  they  ever  be  regarded 
as  the  properties  of  the  Self?  t  Since  it  has  been  determin- 
ed that  all  that  is  knowable  is  Kshetra  (xiii.  5-6)  and  that 
Kshetraj//a  is  the  knower  and  none  else  (xiii.  i),  it  is  noth- 
ing but  sheer  ignorance  which  may  lead  one  to  contradict  it 
by  saying  that  nescience  and  misery  and  the  like  are  the 
attributes  and  specific  properties  of  Kshetraj«aand  that  they 
are  immediately  perceived  as  such. 

The  perception  of  the  relation  of  avidya,  etc, 
to  the  Self  is  due  to  illusion. 

I  Now  asks  (the  opponent)  : — Whose  is  this  avidya  ? 

[To  explain  : — This  avidya  w'hich  accounts  for  the  mistaken 
notion  is  not  an  independent  entity  and  should  inhere  in 
something  else  which  has  an  independent  existence.  But 
it  cannot  inhere  in  Chit  or  Consciousness  which  is  vidya  by 
nature,  and  there  is  no  independent  entity  outside  Chit. 
Hence  the  question. — (A)] 

(Reply): — By  whomsoever  it  is  seen. 

[To  explain  :  Do  you  ask  to  know  whether  avidya  Inheres 
as  an  attribute  in  something  else  which  is  an  independent 
entity,  or  to  know  in  particular  what  that  entity  is  wherein 

*  If  the  Self  could  perceive  His  own  +  i„  ^^^^  following  discussion,  the  oppo- 

properties,  He  could  also  perceive  Him-  nent  tries  to  drive   the   Advaitin   to   the 

self ;  which  .8  absurd,  since  one  and  the  conclusion  that  the  Kshetrajna  is  tainted 

same  thing  cannot  be   both    the    agent  ,vith    Avidya  and   cannot    therefore   be 

and  the  object  of  an  action.'!  identicalwith  the  /5vara,while  the  Advait- 
in avoids  it  by  shewing  that  the  Kshetra- 

+  Whatever  is    perceived,    as  for   in-  j,,^  can  really  hive  no  connection  what- 

stance  form  and    colour,    cannot    be    a  ever  with  avidya  which,  cognised  as  it  is 

property  of  the  perceiver.  by  Him,  is  always  distinct  from  him. 

294  THE  bhagavad-gitA.  [Dis.  XIII, 

it  inheres  ?  In  the  first  case,  there  is  no  occasion  for  the 
question  at  all,  for,  if  avidya  be  cognised,  then,  since  it 
cannot  exist  by  itself,  it  must  be  cognised  as  inhering  in 
something  else.  If,  on  the  other  hand,  avidyi  be  not  cognised, 
then  how  do  you  know  that  avidya  exists  at  all? 

The  opponent  perhaps  means  to  ask  what  that  entity  is 
wherein  avidya  inheres.  Hence  the  question  that  follows. — 

{Opponent)'. — By  whom  is  it  seen  ? 

{Reply)'. — As  regards  this  we  say:  There  is  no  use  asking 
the  question,  "  By  whom  is  avidya  seen  ?"  For,  if  avidya 
is  perceived,  you  perceive  also  the  one  who  has  that  avidya. 
When  its  possessor  is  perceived,  it  is  not  proper  to  ask, 
"  Whose  is  it  ?"  When  the  possessor  of  cows  is  seen,  there 
is  no  occasion  for  the  question  "  whose  are  the  cows  ?" 

[To  explain :  Since  avidya  is  an  object  of  cognition,  and 
since  the  Self  wherein  it  inheres  reveals  Himself  in  one's 
own  consciousness — there  is  no  occasion  for  the  question. — 

(A)] . 

{Opponent)  : — The  illustration  is  not  analogous  to  the  case 
in  point.  Since  the  cows  and  their  possessor  are  objects  of 
immediate  perception,  their  relation  is  also  an  objecj:  of 
immediate  perception  ;  and  so  the  question  has  no  meaning. 
But  not  so  are  avidya  and  its  possessor  both  objects  of 
immediate  perception.  If  they  were,  the  question  would 
have  been  meaningless. 

{Reply) : — If  you  know  to  what  particular  entity,  not 
immediately  perceived,  avidya  is  related,  of  what  avail  is 
it  to  you  ? 

[The  meaning   is : — Though  the  possessor  of  avidya  is 

2.]  MATTER    AND    SPIRIT.  295 

not  immediately  perceived,  still,  you  know  in  what  entity 
avidya  inheres.  Where  is  then  any  occasion  for  your 
question  ? 

The  opponent  does  not  understand  the  real  drift  of 
the  reply  and  proceeds  as  follows: — (A)] 

{Opponent) : — Since  avidya  is  the  cause  of  evil,  it  is  a  thing 
that  should  be  got  rid  of.  [So,  I  ask  to  know  whose  is 
avidya. — (A)] . 

{Reply) : — He  who  has  avidya  will  get  rid  of  it,  [and  it 
can  be  no  other — (A).] 

(Opponent)  : — Why,  it  is  I  who  have  avidya,  [and  I 
should  try  and  get  rid  of  it — (A.)] . 

{Reply)  : —  Then  you  know  avidya  and  the  Self,  its  pos- 
sessor,   [so  that  your  question  has  no  meaning — (A)] . 

{Opponent)  : — I  know,  but  not  by  immediate  perception. 
[Hence  my  question — -(A)] . 

{Reply) : — Then  you  know  the  Self  by  inference.*  How 
can  you  perceive  the  relation  between  the  Self  and  avidya  ? 
It  is  not  indeed  possible  for  you  to  perceive  your  Self  as 
related  to  avidya,  at  the  same  moment  (that  your  Self 
cognises  avidya) ;  for,  the  cogniser  (the  Self)  acts  at  the 
moment  as  the  percipient  of  avidya. f  Neither  can  there  be 
a  (separate)  cogniser  of  the  relation  between  the  cogniser 
(the  Self)  and  avidya,  nor  a  separate  cognition  of  that 
(relation) ;    for  then  you  would  commit  the  fallacy  of  infinite 

*  The  inference  meant   here  may  be  as  for  instance  the  liberated  souls,  do  not 

stated  as  follows  :— I   must   be  the  pos-  fggi  (he  efiects  of  avidya— (A), 
sessor  of   avidya,    because    I   feel    the 

effects  of  avidya  such  as  misery.    If  I  t     The  Self  cannot   be  both  the  per- 

have  no  avidya,  I   should    not   feel  its  ceiver  and  the  perceived    at  the  same 

efiects ;  for,  those  vyho  have  no   avidya,  time.— (A). 

296  THE  bhagavad-gIta.  [Dis.  XIII. 

regress  (anavastba). — If  the  relation  between  the  cogniser  (the 
Self)  and  the  cognised  could  be  cognised,  another  cogniser 
should  be  supposed  to  exist ;  then  another  cogniser  of  that 
cogniser ;  then  another  of  that  again  ;  and  so  on  ;  and  thus 
the  series  would  necessarily  be  endless.  If,  on  the  other 
hand,  avidya — or,  for  that  matter,  anything  else — is  the 
cognised,  then  it  is  ever  the  cognised  only.  So  also  the 
cogniser  is  ever  the  cogniser ;  he  can  never  become  the 
cognised.  Such  being  the  case,"'''  Kshetraj«a,  the  cogniser, 
is  not  at  all  tainted  by  nescience,  misery  and  the  like. 

[Objection) : — There  is  in  the  Self  this  blemish,  viz.,  that 
He  is  the  cogniser  of  Kshetra  or  matter  which  is  full  of 

(Answer) : — No  ;  for,  it  is  only  by  a  figure  of  speech  that 
the  Self,  the  immutable  Consciousness,  is  spoken  of  as  the 
cogniser,  just  as,  in  virtue  of  its  heat,  fire  is  said,  by  a 
figure,  to  do  the  act  of  heating.  We  have  shewn  how  here, 
in  ii.  ig,  iii.  27,  and  v.  15  and  other  places,  the  Lord  has 
taught  that  the  Self  has  in  Himself  no  concern  with  action 
or  with  its  accessories  or  with  its  results,  that  they  are 
imputed  to  the  Self  by  avidya,  and  that  they  are  therefore 
said  to  belong  to  the  Self  only  by  a  figure  of  speech.  And 
we  shall  also  explain  how  the  same  truth  is  taught  in  the 

{Objection)  : — Well !  if  the  Self  has  in  Himself  no  concern 
with  action  or  with  its  accessories  or  with  its  results,  and 
if  they  are  ascribed    (to  the  Self)   by  avidya,  then  it  would 

*  Because  the  Self  cannot  be  cognised       And   the   Self  reveals   himself  in  every 
by  anything  beyond,  there  is  no  proof      phase  of  consciousness.— (A), 
whatever  that  avidya  inheres  in  the  Self 

2 — 3-]  MATTER    AND    SPIRIT.  297 

follow   that   the  rituals    (  karmas )  are  intended  only  for  the 
ignorant,  not  for  the  wise.* 

(AtisK'cy)  : — Yes,i  it  does  follow,  as  we  shall  explain  when 
commenting  on  xviii.  ii.  And  in  the  section  (xviii.  50,  etseq.) 
where  the  teaching  of  the  whole  sastra  is  summed  up,  we 
shall  dwell  more  particularly  on  this  point.  No  need  here 
to  expatiate  further  on  the  subject;  so  we  conclude  for 
the  present. 

Summary  of  the  Doctrine. 

Here  follows  a  verse  which  forms  a  summary  of  the 
teaching  of  the  Discourse  on  Kshetra  {i.e.,  thirteenth  Dis- 
course), which  is  already  contained  in  brief  in  the  verses 
xiii.  1,2;  for,  it  is  but  proper  to  give  beforehand  a 
summary  of  the  whole  doctrine  to  be  explained  at  length 
in  the  sequel. 

3.  And  what  that  Kshetra  is,  and  of  what 
nature,  and  what  its  changes  ;  and  whence  is  what ; 
and  who  He  is  and  what  His  powers  ;  this  hear 
thou  briefly  from  Me. 

^TJiat  Kshetra'  refers  to  what  was  spoken  of  as  '  this  body  ' 
(xiii.  i).  What  that  Kshetra  is  :  what  it  is  in  itself.  Of  what 
nature :  what  it  is  in  its  properties.  And  ic'hence  is  what : 
what  efliects  arise  from  what  causes.  Who  He  is  etc.:  Who 
He  is   that    was   spoken  of  as  Kshetrajiia  and   what    His 

•  And   this  is  opposed  to  the  sastra  list  the  knowledge  of  the  existence  of  a 

which    often  says  that'  one   should  per-  Self    beyond    the    body,    not    also    the 

form  the  sacrificial   rituals   with   know-  knowledge   that   that    Self  is    free   from 

ledge. — (A).  all  attributes,  such  as  hunger. 

T  The  5dstra  demands  from  the  ritua- 


298  THE  bhagavad-gIta.  [Dis.  XIII. 

powers  (prabhavas,  saktis,  such  as  the  power  of  seeing)  are 
which  arise  from  the  upadhis  or  environments  (such  as  the 
eye).  Do  thou  hear  My  speech  describing  briefly  the  true 
nature  of  Kshetra  and  Kshetrajua  in  all  these  specific 
aspects ;  and  on  hearing  that  speech,  thou  wilt  understand 
the  truth. — The  (five)  and's  imply  that  one  should  under- 
stand Kshetra  and  Kshetrajua  in  all  these  aspects. 

The  Doctrine  extolled. 

The  Lord  now  extols  what  He  has  proposed  to  teach, — 
namely,  the  doctrine  of  the  true  nature  of  Kshetra  and 
Kshetrajua, — with  a  view  to  interest  the  mind  of  the  hearer : 

4.  Sung  by  sages,  in  many  ways  and  distinctly, 
in  vari(3us  hymns,  as  also  in  the  suggestive  words 
about  Brahman,  full  of  reasoning  and  decisive. 

Sages  (A^ishis) :  such  as  Vasish^fha.  Hymns  :  such  as  the 
R'lk.  The  true  nature  of  Kshetra  and  Kshetrajua  has 
also  been  taught  in  the  Brahma-sutras,  i.e.,  in  the  passages 
treating  of  Brahman, — such  as  "Only  as  the  Self,  let  a  man 
contemplate  Him  "  (Bri.  Up.  1-4-7), — in  the  words  through 
which  alone  Brahman  is  known.  They  are  full  of  reasoning. 
They  admit  of  no  doubt,  i.  e.,  they  are  productive  of 
certain  knowledge. 

Matter  in  all  its  forms. 

To  Arjuna  who  has,  by  this  praise  (of  the  doctrine),  been 
prepared  to  hear  it,  the  Lord  says : 

5.  The  Great  Elements,  Egoism,  Reason,  as 
also  the  Unmanifested,  the  ten  senses  and  one,  and 
the  five  objects  of  the  senses; 

3 — 6.]  MATTER  AND  Sl'IRlT.  299 

The  Gyeat  Elements  (Mahabhiltas)  are  so  called  because 
they  pervade  all  vikaras,  all  modilications  of  matter.  The 
elements  here  referred  to  are  the  subtle  ones  (sukshraa),  not 
the  gross  (sthula)  elements,  which  latter  will  be  spoken 
of  as  "  the  objects  of  the  senses." 

Egoism  (Ahaw/kara):  self-consciousness,  consciousness 
of  ego,  the  cause  of '  the  Great  Elements'.  Reason  (Buddhi) 
is  defined  by  determination  and  is  the  cause  of  Aha;«kara. 
The  cause  of  Reason  (Buddhi)  is  the  Avyakta,  the  Unmani- 
fested,  the  Avyak>ita  or  Undifferentiated,  the  Energy  of  the 
Lord  (Isvara-5akti)  spoken  of  in  vii.  14.  So  much  alone  is 
Praknti,  divided  eightfold."  The  ten  senses  are  made  up  of 
the  five  "  buddhi-indriyas",  senses  of  knowledge — such  as 
hearing, — so  called  because  they  produce  knowledge,  and 
of  the  five  "karma-indriyas,"  senses  of  action  such  as  speech 
and  hand,  so  called  because  they  bring  about  aclion.  And 
the  one :  the  manas,  which  is  composed  of  thoughts  and 
purposes  (sa;«kalpa)  and  so  on,  is  the  eleventh  sense.  The 
five  objects  of  the  senses  are  sound,  etc.  The  Sankhyas  speak 
of  these  as  the  twenty-four  principles  (tattvas). 

6.  Desire,  hatred,  pleasure,  pain,  the  aggregate, 
intelligence,  courage  ; — the  Kshetrahas  been  thus 
briefly  described  with  its  modifications. 

Now,  the  Lord  proceeds  to  teach  that  even  those  which 
the  Vaiseshikas  speak  of  as  the  inherent  attributes  of  Atman 
(the  Self)  are  merely  the  attributes  of  Kshetra  (matter),  but 
not  the  attributes  of  Kshetrajua  (the  knower  of  matter). — 
Desire  (ichchha)  is  that  which  impels  a  person  who  has  once 

*  The  /svara-Sakti  here  referred  to  is      consciousness  (chaitany.a) ;  i.e.,  the  Mula- 
the  root  of  the  insentient  matter,  spoken       praknti  in  its  eight  modifications.— (A) 
of  as  Maya  in  vii.    14,  not  the  root  of 

300  THE  BHAGAVAD-GiTA.  [DiS.    XIII. 

experienced  a  certain  object  of  pleasure  to  seek — on  again 
perceiving  an  object  of  the  same  class, — to  get  hold  of  this 
latter  as  conducive  to  pleasure.  This,  namely  desire,  is  a 
property  of  the  inner  sense  (antaZt-kara^a) ;  and  it  is  Kshetra 
(matter)  because  it  is  knowable.  So  also,  hatved  is  that 
which  leads  a  person,  who  once  experienced  a  certain  object 
of  pain,  to  dislike  an  object  of  the  same  class  on  perceiving 
this  latter.  This,  namely  hatred,  is  only  Kshetra  (matter),  be- 
cause it  is  knowable.  Pleasure  is  the  agreeable,  the  tranquil, 
made  up  of  the  Sattva  principle.  Even  this  is  Kshetra, 
because  it  is  knowable.  Pain  is  the  disagreeable ;  and  it  is 
Kshetra  because  it  is  knowable.  The  aggregate  is  the  com- 
bination of  the  body  and  the  senses.  Intelligence  is  a  mental 
state  which  manifests  itself  in  the  aggregate — just  as  fire 
manifests  itself  in  a  burning  metallic  mass, — pervaded  by  the 
semblance  of  the  consciousness  of  the  Self.  It  is  Kshetra, 
because  it  is  knowable.  Courage  is  that  by  which  the  body 
and  the  senses  are  upheld  when  they  get  depressed  ;  and 
it  is  Kshetra  because  it  is  knowable. — Desire  and  other 
qualities  mentioned  here  stand  for  all  the  qualities  of  the 
inner  sense  (anta/«-kara7/a).  The  Lord  concludes  the  present 
subject  as  follows:  the  Kshetra  has  been  thus  briefly 
described,  with  its  modifications  such  as  Mahat  (Buddhi). 


Virtues  conducive  to  Self-knowledge. 

The  Kshetra,  of  which  the  various  modifications  in  their 
totality  have  been  spoken  of  as  "  this  body "  (xiii.  i), 
has  been  described  in  all  its  different  forms,  from  '  the  Great 
Elements'  to  'courage'  (xiii.  5-6).*  The  characteristic  marks 

*.  The  cosmic  body  and  the  individual  shew  thiit  he  alone  who  has  grown  in- 
bodies  (saniasWideha  and  vyash/idehas)  difierent  (viralvta)  to  them  is  qualified  for 
have  been  described  here  with  a  view  to      knowledge. — (A) 

6-7.]  MATTER   AND    SPIRIT.  30I 

of  Kshetrajua  will  be  shortly  described.  In  xiii.  12,  the  Lord 
Himself  will  describe  Kshetrajua  in  detail, — that  Kshetra- 
jua through  a  knowledge  of  whose  powers  immortality 
can  be  attained.  But,  now,  the  Lord  prescribes,  as 
means  to  that  knowledge,  virtues  such  as  humility,  which 
qualify  a  person  for  a  knowledge  of  the  Knowable,  intent 
on  which  a  sa;/myasin  is  said  to  be  a  juana-nish/ha,  a  firm 
devotee  in  the  path  of  konwledge,  and  which  are  designated 
as  knowledge  ( juana )  because  they  are  the  means  of 
attaining  knowledge. 

7.  Humility,  modesty,  innocence,  patience,  up- 
rightness, service  of  the  teacher,  purity,  steadfast- 
ness, self-control ; 

Humility  :  absence  of  self-esteem.  Modesty :  not  pro- 
claiming one's  own  virtues.  Innocence:  doing  no  injury  to 
any  living  being.  Patience  :  not  being  affected  when  others 
have  done  any  injury.  Service  of  the  teacher  :  doing  acts  of 
service  to  the  preceptor  (acharya)  who  teaches  the  means 
of  attaining  moksha.  Purity  :  washing  away  the  dirt  from 
the  body  by  means  of  water  and  earths, — the  inner  purity  of 
mind  consisting  in  the  removal  from  it  of  the  dirt  of  attach- 
ment and  other  passions  by  cultivating  the  idea*  that  is 
inimical  to  them.  Steadfastness  :  concentration  of  all  efforts 
exclusively  in  the  path  of  salvation.  Self-control:  control 
of  the  self,  of  the  aggregate  of  the  body  and  the  senses. 
This  aggregate  is  spoken  of  as  the  self,  because  it  is  of  some 
service  to  the  true  Self.f  Self-control  consists  in  directing 
exclusively    to  the  right  path  the  body  and  the  mind  which 

♦  The  recognition  of  evil  in  all  objects  of  senses. — (A) 

+    There    is  another     reading    of   the        gate  '   is  inimical   to  the  Self  and  should 
commentary  which  means  that '  the  aggre-        therefore  be  restrained. 


are  by  nature  attracted  in  all  directions. 

8.  Absence  of  attachment  for  objects  of  the 
senses,  and  also  absence  of  egoism ;  perception  of 
evil  in  birth,  death  and  old  age,  in  sickness  and 

Absence  of  attachment :  for  sense-objects  such  as  sound,  for 
pleasures  seen  or  unseen.  Perception,  etc. :  thinking  of  what 
evil  there  is  severally  in  birth,  etc.  Thus  the  evil  in  birth  lies 
in  having  to  dwell  in  the  womb  and  to  issue  out  through  the 
uterus.  Similarly  in  death.  The  evil  of  old  age  consists  in 
the  decay  of  intelligence,  power  and  strength,  and  in  being 
treated  with  contempt.  So  also  may  be  seen  the  evil  caused 
by  sickness  such  as  head-disease  ;  or  the  evil  caused  by  pain, 
whether  adhyatmika,  i.e.,  arising  in  one's  own  person,  or 
adhibhautika,  i.e.,  produced  by  external  agents,  or  adhi- 
daivika,  i.e.,  produced  by  supernatural  beings. 

Or,  the  passage  may  be  thus  interpreted: — Pain  itself 
is  evil.  Birth,  etc.,  should  be  regarded  as  painful,  as  shewn 
above.  Birth  is  a  misery  ;  death  is  a  misery  ;  old  age  is  a 
misery ;  and  sickness  is  a  misery.  Birth,  etc.,  are  all 
miseries,  because  they  produce  misery  ;  they  are  not  miseries 
in  themselves. 

From  this  perception  of  the  evil  of  pain  in  birth,  etc., 
there  arises  indifference  to  the  pleasures  of  the  body  and  of 
the  senses  ;  and  then  the  senses  turn  towards  the  Innermost 
Self  to  obtain  a  glimpse  of  the  Self.  Because  the  percep- 
tion of  the  evil  of  pain  in  birth,  etc.,  conduces  to  knowledge, 
it  is  itself  spoken  of  as  knowledge. 

g.     Unattachment,  absence  of  affection  for  son, 

7-10.]  MATTER  AND  SPIRIT.  303 

wife,  home  and  the  like,  and  constant,  equanimity 
on  the  attainment  of  the  desirable  and  the  unde- 
sirable ; 

Unattnchment :  absence  of  liking  for  things  which  may 
form  objects  of  attachment.  Affection  is  an  intense  form  of 
attachment  and  consists  in  complete  identification  with 
another,  as  in  the  case  of  a  man  who  feels  happy  or  miser- 
able when  another  is  happy  or  miserable  and  who  feels 
himself  alive  or  dead  when  another  is  alive  or  dead. 
The  like  :  others  who  are  very  dear,  other  dependants.  Un- 
attachment  and  absence  of  affection  are  termed  knowledge 
because  they  lead  to  knowledge.  Constant  equanimity  con- 
sists is  not  being  delighted  on  attaining  the  desirable,  and 
in  not  chafing  on  attain. ng  the  undesirable.  This  equani- 
mity also  is  (conducive  to)  knowledge. 

10.  Unflinching  devotion  to  Me  in  Yoga  of  non- 
separation,  resort  to  solitary  places,  distaste  for  the 
society  of  men  ; 

Yoga  of  non-separation  :    apnthak-samadhi,    a    steady  un- 
flinching^ meditation  on  the  One  with  the  idea  that   there  is 
no  Being  higher  than  the  Lord,  Vasudeva,  and  that  there- 
fore He  is  our  sole  Refuge.  And  this  devotion  is  (conducive 
to)  knowledge.     Sclitary  places  :  which  are  naturally  free,  or 
made  free,  from    impurities,  as  also  from  fear  of  serpents, 
thieves  and  tigers  :  such  as  a  jungle,  the  sandbank  of  a  river, 
the   temple   of  a  God,  and  so  on.     It  is  in  solitude  that  the  \ 
mind  becomes  calm  ;  so  that  meditation  of  the  Self  and  the  ) 
like  is  possible  only  in  a  solitary  place.  Wherefore  resort  to  I 
solitude    is  said  to  be  (  conducive  to  )  knowledge.      Society 
of  men  :  of  the   ordinary  unenlightened  and  undisciplined 


people,  not  of  the  enlightened  and  disciplined  men,  be- 
cause the  society  of  these  latter  is  an  aid  to  knowledge. 
Distaste  Jor  the  society  of  ordinary  men  is  knowledge, 
because  it  leads  to  knowledge. 


II.  Constancy  in  Self-knowledge,  perception  of 
the  end  of  the  knowledge  of  truth.  This  is  declared 
to  be  knowledge,  and  what  is  opposed  to  it  is 

Self-knowledge  :  knowledge  of  the  Self  and  the  like.  Percep- 
tion, etc :  Knowledge  of  truth  results  from  the  mature 
development  of  such  attributes  as  humility  (xiii.  7),  which 
are  the  means  of  attaining  knowledge.  The  end  of  this 
knowledge  is  moksha,  the  cessation  of  mortal  existence,  of 
sa;«sara.  The  end  should  be  kept  in  view  ;  for,  it  is  only 
when  one  perceives  the  end  of  the  knowledge  of  truth  that 
one  will  endeavour  to  cultivate  the  attributes  which  are  the 
means  of  attaining  that  knowledge.  These  attributes — 
from  *  humility  '  to  '  perception  of  the  end  of  the  knowledge 
of  truth  ' — are  declared  to  be  knowledge,  because  they  are 
conducive  to  knowledge.  What  is  opposed  to  this — viz., 
pride,  hypocrisy,  cruelty,  impatience,  insincerity  and  the 
like-^is  ignorance,  which  should  be  known  and  avoided  as 
tending  to  the  perpetuation  of  samsara. 

Brahman,  the  Knowable. 

What  is  it  that  has  to  be  known  by  this  knowledge  ? — In 
answer  to  this  question  the  Lord  proceeds  with  xiii.  12,  etc. 

{Objection)  : — Humility  and  the  like  are  only  forms  of 
self-control  {yama  and  niyama)  ;  by  them  cannot  be  perceived 
the  Knowable.     Never  indeed  have  we  found  humility  and 

lO — 12.]  MATTER  AND  SPIRIT.  305 

Other  attributes  (mentioned  above)  serving  to  determine  the 
nature  of  anything.  And  in  all  cases,  it  is  only  the  knowledge 
or  consciousness  of  an  object  that  has  been  found  to  deter- 
mine the  nature  of  that  object  of  knowledge.  And,  certainly, 
no  object  can  bs  determined  through  the  knowledge  of 
another  object,  any  more  than  fire  can  be  perceived  through 
the  knowledge  of  a  pot. 

(AnSii/ey): — This  objection  does  not  apply  here  ;  for,  we 
have  said  that  humility  and  the  like  are  spoken  of  as  know- 
ledge because  they  conduce  to  knowledge,  or  because  they 
are  secondary  or  auxiliary  causes  of  knowledge. 

12.  That  which  has  to  be  known  I  shall  des- 
cribe;  knowing  which  one  attains  the  Immortal. 
Beginningless  is  the  Supreme  Brahman.  It  is  not 
said  to  be  '  sat '  or  '  asat.' 

That  which  has  to  be  known,  I  shall  fully  describe  as  It 
is. — The  Lord  then  goes  on  to  describe  what  the  result  of 
that  knowledge  will  be,  in  order  to  call  the  hearer's  atten- 
tion by  way  of  creating  in  h"m  a  desire  to  know^  of  It. — It, 
the  unsurpassed  One,  the  Brahman,  just  spoken  of  as  '  That 
which  has  to  be  known,'  has  no  beginning. 

With  a  view  to  avoid  tautology  '■'  some  split  the  express- 
ion '  anadimatparam  '  into  *  anddi  matparam  ' ,  and  explain  it 
differently;  thus:  Brahman  is  beginningless,  and  lam  Its 
Para-5akti,  the  Supreme  Energy  called  Vasudeva. 

(But  we  say)  : — True,  tautology  might  thus  be  avoided, 
provided  the  given  interpretation  were  possible.     But  the 

*  Tautology  involved  in  t.iking  '•  ana-      Bhashyakara  has  done, 
dimat ,'    as     one     compound,     as     the 



interpretation  does  not  hold  good,  for  it  is  intended  here  to 
expound  the  nature  of  Brahman  by  denying  all  specific 
attributes.  It  is  a  self-contradiction  to  speak  of  Brahman 
as  possessed  of  a  particular  kind  of  energy  and  at  the  same 
time  as  devoid  of  all  specific  attributes.  Therefore  tautology 
should  be  explained  as  due  to  the  exigencies  of  the  metre. 

Brahman  is  beyond  speech  and  thought. 

After  saying  that  He  is  going  to  speak  of  what,  as  leading 
to  immortality,  is  worth  knowing,  and  after  having  thus 
called  the  hearer's  attention  by  creating  a  desire  for  the 
knowledge,  the  Lord  says:  It  is  not  said  to  be  *  sat 
(existent)  '  or  '  asat  (non-existent).' 

{Objection) : — After  proclaiming  very  loudly  that  He  is 
going  to  speak  of  the  Knovvable,  it  does  not  become  the 
Lord  to  describe  It  as  neither  '  sat '  nor  '  asat.' 

(Aiiswey) : — No;  it  is  quite  the  right  thing  that  has  been 
said. — How  ? — Thus  :  being  inaccessible  to  speech,  Brah- 
man, the  Knowable,  is  defined  in  all  Upanishads  only  by  a 
denial  of  all  specialities,—'  Not  thus  '  (BH.  Up,  2-3-6)  and 
*  not  gross,  not  subtle  '  {Ibid,  3-8-8) — in  the  terms  "  It  is 
not  this." 

{Objection)  : — That  thing  (alone)  exists  which  can  be 
spoken  of  as  existing.  If  the  Knowable  cannot  be  spoken 
of  as  existing,  then  It  cannot  exist.  And  it  is  a  contradic- 
tion in  terms  to  say  that  It  is  knowable  and  that  It 
cannot  be  spoken  of  as  existing. 

{Ansuer): — Neither  is  It  non-existent,  since  It  is  not  an 
object  of  the  consciousness  of  non-existence. 

(Objection):— Ewevy  state  of  consciousness  involves  either 

12.]  MATTER  AND  SPIRIT.  307 

the  consciousness  of  existence  or  that  of  non-existence.  Such 
being  the  case,  the  Knowable  should  be  comprehended  either 
by  a  state  of  consciousness  accompanied  with  the  conscious- 
ness of  existence,  or  by  a  state  of  consciousness  accom- 
panied   with    the   consciousness   of  non-existence." 

(ylnswey): — No;  for,  being  beyond  the  reach  of  the 
senses.  It  is  not  an  object  of  consciousness  accompanied 
with  the  idea  of  either  (existence  or  non-existence).  That 
thing,  indeed,  which  can  be  perceived  by  the  senses,  such 
as  a  pot,  can  be  an  object  of  consciousness  accompanied 
with  the  idea  of  existence,  or  an  object  of  consciousness 
accompanied  with  the  idea  of  non-existence.  Since,  on  the 
other  hand,  the  Knowable  is  beyond  the  reach  of  the  senses 
and  as  such  can  be  known  solely  through  that  instrument 
of  knowledge  which  is  called  '5abda'  (the  Word,  i.e., 
Revelation),  It  cannot  be,  like  a  pot,  etc.,  an  object  of  con- 
sciousness accompanied  with  the  idea  of  either  (existence  or 
non-existence)  and  is  therefore  not  said  to  be  'sat'  or  'asat'. 

Now,  as  regards  the  allegation  that  it  is  a  self-contradic- 
tion in  terms  to  say  that  the  Knosvable  is  not  said  to  be 
'  sat  '  or  'asat',  (we  say  that)  there  is  no  contradiction  ;  for, 
the  sruti  says, 

'It  is  other  than  the  known  and  above  the  unknown.' — 

[Objection): — Even  the  passage  of  the  sruti  just  quoted  is 
self- contradictory,!  just  as  the  sruti  is  self-contradictory 
when,  after  putting  up  the   hall    for   the   sacrifice,  it   says 

*  If  not.  you  cinnot  escape  the  conclu-      authoritative,  since  that  passage  alone  is 
sion  that  lirahnian  is  indefinable— (A).  accepted  as  authoritative  which   contra- 

f  If  so,  \vc  do  not  accept  the  passage  as      diets  no  accepted  authority. — (A) 


"  (who  knows)  there  exists  (any  good)  in  the  next  world  ?" 
(Taittiriya-Sa7«hita,  6-1-1). 

{Aus7!>cr)  : — No;  the  passage  which  says  that  "It  is  other 
than  the  known  and  above  the  unknown,  teaches,  by  itself, 
something  which  should  be  accepted  as  true,  "'^'  whereas  the 
passage  quoted  by  the  opponent — "  who  knows  if  there  exist 
any  good  in  the  next  world  ?" — is  a  mere  artha-vada,  a 
statement  which,  to  be  understood  in  its  full  import,  should 
be  read  along  with  the  injunction  to  which  it  is  subsidiary.! 

Moreover,  it  stands  to  reason  to  say  that  Brahman 
cannot  be  expressed  in  words  such  as 'sat';  for,  every  v.'ord 
employed  to  denote  a  thing  denotes  that  thing — when  heard 
by  another — as  associated  with  a  certain  genus,  or  a  certain 
act,  or  a  certain  quality,  or  a  certain  mode  of  relation. 
Thus  :  C07i>  and  horse  imply  genera,  cook  and  teacher  imply 
acts,  white  and  black  imply  qualities,  ivealthy  and  cattle-owner 
imply  possession.  But  Brahman  belongs  to  no  genus  \ 
wherefore  It  cannot  be  denoted  by  such  words  as  '  sat 
(existent)'.  Being  devoid  of  attributes.  It  possesses  no 
qualities.  If  It  were  possessed  of  qualities,  then  It  could 
be  denoted  by  a  word  implying  a  quality.  Being  actionless, 
It  cannot  be  indicated  by  a  word  implying  an  act.  The 
>Sruti  says: 

"  It  is  without  parts,  actionless  and  tranquil."  (.Svet. 
Up.  6-19). 

*  That   is  to  say,    we  should  not  reject  be  accepted  as  authoritative  in  itself.-(A) 

the  passage  as   teaching  no   new   truth;  +  Hence  it  is  no  authority  in  itself — (A) 

for,    it   teaches  this  new   truth,  namely,  *  Brahman  is  described  in   the  sruti  as 

that     Brahman   is   no   other    than   one's  belonging  to   no  class,  as  possessing  no 

own  Inner  Self,  and  it  should  therefore  colour,  and  so  on. — (A) 

12 — 13.]  MATTER  AND  SPIRIT.  30g 

It  is  not  related  to  anythinj^  else  ;  for  It  is  one,  It  is  with- 
out a  second,  It  is  no  object  (of  any  sense).  It  is  the  very 
Self.  Wherefore,  it  is  but  right  to  say  that  It  can  be 
denoted  by  no  word  at  all  ;and  the  passages  of  the  sruti  like 
the   following    point    to   the   same   thing : 

Whence  {i.e.,  away  from  Brahman,  unable  to    ap- 
proach Brahman)  all  words  return." — (Tait.  Up.  2-4-1.) 

Brahman  is  the  source  of  all    activity. 

When  it  is  said  that  Brahman  the  Knowable  is  not 
accessible  to  the  word  or  thought  of  'sat'  (existent),  one 
may  perhaps  suppose  It  to  be  '  asat '  or  non-existent.  To 
prevent  this  supposition  the  Lord  proceeds  to  declare  Its 
existence  as  manifested  through  the  upadhis,  through  the 
senses  of  all  living  beings. 

[To  explain  :  Since  nothing  is  found  which  is  devoid  of 
all  conditions  and  quite  beyond  all  speech  and  thought, — 
nay,  since  everything  we  experience  is  of  a  contrary 
nature, — one  may  suppose  that  Brahman  as  described  above 
must  be  a  void  or  non-entity  (sunya).  To  prevent  this 
supposition,  the  Lord  proceeds  to  teach  that  Brahman 
exists  (i)  as  the  Inner  Self  (Pratyak),  (2)  as  the  source  of 
all  activity  of  the  senses  and  the  like,  (3)  as  the  source 
whence  arises  our  consciousness  of  existence  with  reference 
to  all  duality  which  is  imaginary,  (4)  as  Isvara  or  the  Lord 
of  the  universe.  First  of  all,  here,  the  Lord  proves,  by 
way  of  inference,  the  existence  of  Brahman  as  the  Inner 
Self-consciousness :  there  must  be  some  self-conscious 
principle  (pratyak-chetana)  behind  insentient  principles  in 
activity,  such  as  the  physical  body  ;  for,  we  invariably  find 


self-consciousness   lying  behind  all    insentient     objects   in 
activity,  such  as  a  carriage  in  motion. — (A)] 

13.  With  hands  and  feet  everywhere,  with  eyes 
and  heads  and  mouths  everywhere,  with  hearing 
everywhere,  That  exists  enveloping  all. 

The  Knowable  has  hands  and  feet  everywhere.  The 
existence  of  Kshetrajna  is  indicated  by  the  upadhis  of  the 
sense-organs  ■■'■  of  all  living  beings.  Kshetraj«a  (the  self- 
conscious  principle  lying  behind  the  sense-organs)  is  so- 
called  because  of  the  upadhi  of  Kshetra ;  and  this  Kshetra 
is  of  various  forms,  such  as  hands,  feet,  etc.  All  the  variety 
caused  in  Kshetrajwa  by  the  variety  in  the  upadhis  of 
Kshetra  is  but  illusory,  and  it  has  therefore  been  said — in 
the  words  "  It  is  not  said  to  be  '  sat '  or  '  asat '  " — that  It 
should  be  known  as  devoid  of  all  variety.  Though  what  is 
caused  (in  KshetraJ7/a)  by  upadhis  is  illusory,  still  it  is 
spoken  of — in  the  words  that  '  It  has  hands  and  feet  every- 
^vhere ' — as  though  it  were  an  attribute  of  the  Knowable, 
only  with  a  view  to  indicate  Its  existence.  Accordingly 
there  is  the  saying  of  the  sampradaya-vids — of  those  who 
know  the  right  traditional  method  of  teaching — which  runs 
as  follows :  "  That  which  is  devoid  of  all  duality  is  describ- 
ed by  adhyaropa  and  apavada,"  i.e.,  by  superimposition 
and  negation,  by  attribution  and  denial.  Hands,  feet  and 
the  like,  constituting  the  limbs  of  all  bodies  in  all  places, 
derive  their  activity  from  the  Energy  inherent  in  the  Know- 
ablef,  andas  such  they  are  mere  marks  of  Its  existence 
and  are  spoken  of  as  belonging  to  It  only  by  a  figure 
of  speech.— All  the  rest  should  be  similarly  interpreted.— It 

*  Because  there  must  be  self-conscious-        t   t.  e.,  they  ^  virtue  of  the  mere 
ness  at  the  back  of  their  activity.— (A)  presence  of  that  Energy.— (A) 

13 — 14]  MATTER   AND    SPIRIT.  311 

(Brahman)  exists  in  the  world,  in  the  whole  animal  creation, 
pervading  all. 

Brahman  is  unconditioned. 

The  purpose  of  this  verse  is  to  prevent  the  supposition 
that  the  Knowable  is  [really)  possessed  of  the  upadhis — the 
sense-organs  such  as  hands,  feet,  and  the  like, — which  are 
merely  superimposed  (upon  It). 

14.  Shining  by  the  functions  of  all  the  senses, 
(yet)  without  the  senses,  unattached,  yet  support- 
ing all ;  devoid  of  qualities  ;  yet  enjoying,  qualities. 

All  the  senses:  the  buddhi-indriyas  and  karma-indriyas, 
the  organs  of  knowledge  and  the  organs  of  action.  The 
inner  senses, — manas  and  buddhi, — which  alike  form  the 
upadhis  of  the  Knowable,  are  included  in  the  term  *  all  the 
senses'.  Moreover,  even  hearing  and  other  senses  form 
upadhis  only  through  the  upadhi  of  the  anta/f-kara«a,  the  in- 
ner sense.  Thus,  we  should  understand  that  Brahman  mani- 
fests Itself  through  the  upadhis  of  external  and  internal  senses 
through  the  functions  of  all  the  senses,  viz.,  determination, 
purposes  and  thoughts,  hearing,  speech  and  the  like.  That 
is  to  say,  the  Knowable  functions,  as  it  were,  through  the 
functions  of  all  the  senses.     The  sruti  says  : 

"  It  meditates  as  it  were,  It  moves  as  it  were."  (Bn. 
^>- 4-3-7)- 
Why   should    it    not   mean   that   It   actually  functions? — 
Says  the  Lord  :   It  is  not  possessed  of  any  of  the  senses. 
Wherefore,'  the  Knowable  does  not  actually  function  when 
the  senses  are  functioning.     And  as  regards  the  verse, 
"  Without  hands  and  feet  He  is  swift,  He  grasps  ; 

312  THE    BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.  XII  I. 

He  sees  without  the  eye,  He  hears  without  the  ear." 

(5vet.  Up.  3-19)- 
there,  the  sruti  implies  that  the  Knowable  has  the  power 
to  accomodate  Itself  to  the  varying  functions  of  all  the 
senses  which  are  Its  upadhis,  but  not  that  It  actually 
possesses  swift  motion  and  such  other  activities.  The  verse 
should  be  interpreted  ''■'•  like  the  passage  "  The  blind  one 
saw  the  gem."  (Taitt.  Ara;iyaka,  i.  11).  Because  It  is 
devoid  of  the  senses,  therefore  It  is  unattached,  devoid 
of  all  attachments. 

Brahman,  the  basic  Reality  in  all  illusory  phenomena. 

Though  It  is  so,  yet  It  supports  all.  Indeed,  everything 
is  based  on  the  '  sat,'  the  Existent ;  for  everywhere  the  idea 
of  '  sat '  is  present.  Not  even  the  mirage  and  the  like  exist 
without  a  basis.     Hence  it  is  said  that  It  supports  all. 

Brahman,  the  perceiver  of  the  Qunas. 

There  is  this  yet  another  gate  to  a  knowledge  of  the 
existence  of  the  Knowable  :  Though  devoid  of  the  gu«as, — 
Sattva,  Rajas,  and  Tamas — yet  '  the  Knowable  is  the  en- 
joyer,  the  perceiver,  of  the  gu»as  which,  assuming  the 
forms  of  sound  and  other  (objects  of  sense),  transform 
themselves   into  pleasure,  pain  and  delusion. 

Brahman    is   all. 


15.     Without  and  within  (all)  beings  ;    the    un- 

*  That  is  to  say,  the  arthavada  passage       to   contradict   the   main   subject    of   the 
should  not   be  understood   in   its  literal       section. — (A) 
sense ;  it  must  be  so  interpreted  as  not 

14-15.]  MATTER  AND  SPIRIT.  3I3 

movin;:;  as  also  the  moving.    Because  subtle,  That 

is   incomprehensible  ;    and  near  and  far   away  is 


Without:  What  lies  outside  the  body  which  is  inclusive 
of  the  skin  and  which  is  regarded  through  ignorance  as  one's 
own  self.  And  '  ivithin  '  refers  to  the  Inner  Self,  Pratyagat- 
man,  lying  inside  the  body.— The  statement  that  It  is 
'without  and  within'  may  imply  Its  absence  in  the  middle. ^'^ 
To  prevent  this  implication,  the  Lord  says  that  It  is  *  the 
unmoving  as  also  the  moving.'  It  is  Brahman,  the  Know- 
able,  that  appears  as  the  bodies,  moving  and  unmoving, 
just  as  a  rope  appears  as  a  snake. 

Brahman  is  comprehended  only  by  the  wise. 

(Objection) : — If  all  things  we  perceive,  the  moving  and  the 
unmoving,  were  the  Knowable,  then  how  is  it  that  Brah- 
man is  not  directly  comprehended  by  everybody,  as  '  This 
It  is'? 

(Anszi'cy): — True, '' It  manifests   Itself  as  everything  ;  but 
It  is  subtle  §  like  the  akasa.     Wherefore,  on  account  of  Its 
subtlety.  It  is  incomprehensible  to  the  unenlightened,  though 
knowable  in  Itself.     It  is,   however,    always  known  to  the  ' 
enlightened/as  revealed  in  the  following  texts : 

'All   this   is   the     Self  and   the    Self  alone'  (Bn. 
Up.  2-4-6.) 

'AH  this  is  Brahman  and  Brahman  alone.'  (/i/rf. 2-5-1.) 
It  is  far  away   when    unknown  ;  for.  It  is  unattainable   by 
the  unenlightened  even  in    millions   of  years.     And  to  the 
enlightened  It  is  very  near,  because  It  is  their  own  Self. 

t.  e.  in  the  body  which  intervenes      objects, 
between  the  Pratyagatman  and  external        §  Beyond  the  reach  •f  the  senses. 


314  THE    BHAGAVAD-GiTA.  [DiS.  XIII* 

Brahman  is  the  one  Self   in  all. 


16.  And  undivided,  yet  remaining  divided  as  it 
were  in  beings  ;  supporter  of  beings,  too,  is  That, 
the  Knowable  ;  devouring,  yet  generating. 

It  is  undivided  in  the  different  bodies,  It  is  one  like  the 
akasa.  Still,  it  appears  to  be  different  in  all  the  different 
bodies,  inasmuch  as  It  manifests  Itself  only  in  the  bodies. 

Brahman  is  the  Cause  of  the  Universe. 

The  Knowable  supports  beings  during  sthiti,  the  period 
of  sustenance  of  the  Universe;  and  It  devours  them  at 
pyalaya,  i.e.,  at  the  time  of  dissolution.  It  generates  them 
at  the  time  of  ntpatti,  the  origin  of  the  Universe,  just  as  a 
rope  gives  rise  to  an  illusory  snake. 

•  Brahman    is  the  Illuminator  of  all. 

{Objection)  ; — If  the  Knowable,  though  existing  every- 
where, is  not  perceived,  then  It  is  but  darkness  (Tamas). 

{Aimvev) : — No. — What  then  ? — 

Moreover  : 

17.  The  Light  even  of  lights,  That  is  said  to  be 
bayond  darkness.  Kn  jwledge,  the  Knowable,  the 
Goal  of  knowledge,  (  It  )  is  implanted  in  the 
heart  of  every  one. 

That,  the  Knowable,  is  the  Light  even  of  lights  '■'■  such  as 
the  sun.     Indeed  these  latter  shine  only  when  illumined  by 

*  The  existence  of  Brahman,  thfc  Know-        luminin};    the    sun,     etc.,     and     reason 
able,  can   be  recognissd  as  the    Light  il-        (buddbiA  etc. (A.) 

if) — I*^.]  MATTER  AND  SPIRIT.  315 

the  lij,4it  ot  the  consciousness  of  the  Self.    The  Chants  say  : 
'  That  Light  by  which  illumined   the  sun  shines  ' — 
(Taitt.  Br.  3-12-9.) 

'By  Its  light  all  this  shines '—(Svet.  Up.  6-14). 

So  says  the  smHti  also  here  (in  the  Bhagavad-gita  xv.  12.) 
It  is  said  to  be  uncontaminated  by  Tamas,  by  ajwana,  by 

The  Light  is  in  the  heart  of  every  one. 

Now,  with  a  view  to  cheer  up  Arjuna  who  seemed 
dejected  at  the  thought  of  the  knowledge  (of  Brahman)  be- 
ing very  difficult  of  attainment,  the  Lord  says:  ICnovvledge, 
such  as  humility  (xiii.  7-11);  the  Knowable,  as  described  in 
xiii.  12-17  ;  and  the  same  thing,  viz.,  the  Knowable,  which, 
when  kiiown,  forms  the  fruit  of  knowledge  and  is  therefore  said 
to  be  the  Goal  ofknoidedge,  and  which  as  a  thing  to  be  known 
forms  the  Knowable :  these  three  (knowledge,  the  Know- 
able,  and  the  Goal  of  knowledge)  are  implanted  pre-eminent- 
ly in  the  heart  (buddhi)  of  every  living  being  ;  it  is  indeed 
there  that  the  three  are  distinctly   manifested. 

Seek  the  Light  through  devotion. 

Here  follows  the  verse  which  concludes  the  subject  just 
treated  of: 

18.  Thus  the  Kshetra,  as  well  as  knowledge  and 
the   Knowable,  have  been  briefly  set   forth.     M)- 
devotee,  on  knowing  this,  is  fitted  for  My  state. 

Thus  the  Kshetra,  described  above  (xiii-5-6),  beginning  with 
the  '  Great  elements'  and  ending  with  '  firmness;'  knoivledge, 
comprising  the  attributes  which  have  been  enumerated, 
beginning   with  '  humility  '  and  ending   with  '  perception  of 

3l6  THE    BHAGAVAD-GlTA.  [DiS.  XIII. 

the  end  of  the  knowledge  of  truth'  (xiii.  7-11);  and  the 
Knowable,  described  in  xiii  -12-17  ;-^these  have  been  set 
forth  in  brief. 

Such,  indeed,  is  the  whole  doctrine,  the  doctrine  of  the 
Vedas  and  the  doctrine  of  the  Gita,  taught  in  brief. 

(Question)  : — Who  is  fit  to  attain  this  right  knowledge  ? 

[Answey) : — He  who  is  devoted  to  Me,  who  regards  Me — • 
Vasudeva,  the  Supreme  Lord,  the  Omniscient,  the  Supreme 
Guru — as  the  Self  (Soul,  Essence)  of  everything,  i.e.,  he 
who  is  possessed  (as  it  were)  with  the  idea  that  all  that  he 
sees  or  hears  or  touches  is  nothing  but  the  Lord,  Vasudeva. 
Thus  devoted  to  Me,  and  having  attained  the  right  know- 
ledge described  above,  he  is  fit  to  attain  to  My  state,  i.  e., 
he  attains  moksha. 

Prakriti  and    Purusha  are  eternal. 

In  the  seventh  discourse  were  described  two  Prakntis,  the 
superior  and  the  inferior,  corresponding  to  Kshetra  and 
Kshetrajua;  and  it  was  said  that  they  are  the  womb  of  all 
creatures  (vii.  6). — It  may  now  be  asked,  how  can  it  be  said 
that  the  two  Prakntis,  Kshetra  and  Kshetrajfia,  are  the 
womb  of  all  beings? — This  question  will  now  be  answered: 

ig.  Know  thou  that  Prak^'iti  as  well  as  Purusha 
are  both  beginningless ;  and  know  thou  also  that 
all  forms  and  qualities  are  born  of  Prakriti. 

Praknti  and  Purusha,  Matter  and  Spirit,  are  the  two 
Prakntis  of  the  Isvara,  the  Lord.  These  two,  Praknti 
and  Purusha — you  should  know — have  no  beginning.  As 
the  Isvara  is  the  eternal  Lord,  it  is  but  right  that  His  Pra- 
kntis also  should  be  eternal.     The  Lordship  of  the  Isvara 

iS-ig.]  MATTER  AND  SPIRIT.  317 

consists  indeed  in  His  possession  of  the  two  Prakntis  by 
which  He  causes  the  origin,  preservation  and  dissolution  of 
the  universe.  The  two  Prakritis  are  beginningless,  and 
they  are  therefore  the  cause  of  sawsara. 

Some  construe  the  passage  so  as  to  mean  that  the  two 
Prakritis  are  not  primeval.  It  is  by  such  an  interpretation, 
they  hold,  that  the  causality  of  the  Isvara  can  be  established. 
If,  on  the  other  hand,  Prakriti  and  Purusha  were  eternal, 
it  would  follow  that  they  are  the  cause  of  the  universe,  and 
that  the  Isvara  is  not  the  creator  of  the  universe. 

It  is  wrong  to  say  so;  for  the  Isvara  would  then  be  no 
isvara,  inasmuch  as  there  would  be  nothing  for  Him  to  rule 
over  prior  to  the  birth  of  Prakfiti  and  Purusha.  Moreover, 
if  sawsara  had  no  cause  (other  than  Isvara),  there  could  be 
no  cessation  ■■'•  thereof;  and  thus  the  sastra  (the  scripture) 
would  have  no  purpose  to  serve.  Likewise,  there  could  be 
neither  bondage  nor  salvation,  i 

Prakriti  and  Purusha  as  the  Cause  of  samsara. 

If,  on  the  other  hand,  the  Prak/'itis  of  the  Isvara  be 
eternal,  all  this  can  be  explained.— How? — Know  thou  that 
all  forms,  all  emanations  (vikaras)  from  buddhi  down  to 
the  physical  body,  and  all  qualities  (gu»as)  such  as  those 
which  manifest  themselves  as  pleasure,  pain,  delusion  and 
other  mental    states  to  be  described  hereafter,  spring  from 

♦  If  the /s vara  were  the  sole  cause  of  sara.— (A) 

the  universe,  quite  independently  of  the  t  Before  the  birth  of  the  two  Prakntis, 

two  Prakntis,  the  sawisara  would  be  end-  there  could   be  no   bondage   and  conse- 

less,    inasmuch    as  there  is    nothing  to  quently  no  moksha.    If  at  any  time  there 

prevent  even  the  emancipated  souls  from  were    neither     bondage     nor    moksha, 

being  hurled  into   sa»isara,  so  long    as  there  could  be  no  cause  which  would  ever 

there  is  /svara,  as  the  sole  cause  of  saw  bring  them  into  existence,— (A)., 


Praknti,  Mayi\,  composed  of  the  three  gu«as,  that  Energy 
of  the  Isvara  which  constitutes  thecause  of  (all)  emanat- 
ions.  Know  thou  that  they  are  all  modifications  of  Praknti.* 

What  then  are  those  forms  and  qualities  which  are  said 
to  be  born  of  Praknti  ? — Says  the  Lord  : 

20.  As  the  producer  of  the  effect  and  the  instru- 
ments t,  Praknti  is  said  to  be  the  cause ;  as  experi- 
encing pleasure  and  pain,  Purusha  is  said  to  be 
the  cause. 

The  effect  (karya)  is  the  physical  body,  and  the  instruments 
(kara«as)  are  the  thirteen  [  located  in  the  body.  The  five 
elements  (bhutas)  which  build  up  the  body,  and  the  five 
sense-objects  which  are  the  emanations  of  Praknti  as 
mentioned  above,  are  included  under  the  term  'effect ;'  and 
all  qualities,  such  as  pleasure,  pain  and  delusion,  which 
are  born  of  Prak/'iti,  are  included  under  the  term  '  instru- 
ments,' since  those  qualities  are  seated  in  the  instruments, 
the  senses.  In  the  production  of  the  physical  body,  of  the 
senses  and  their  sensations,  Praknti  is  said  to  be  the  cause, 
for,  it  generates  them  all.  Thus,  as  producing  the  physical 
body  and  the  senses,  Praknti  is  the  cause  of  sa;«sara. 

In  the  place  of  'kara»a'  which  means  instrument,  some 
read  'kara»a'  which  means  cause. — -Whatever  is  a  modifica- 
tion of  another  is  the  effect  or  emanation  (vikara)  of  that 
other ;    and    that    from    which    it     emanates    is   the   cause 

*    Praknti  is    that     out  of    which     all  less  and  without  qualities— M) 

forms  and  qualities  come  into  existence  |  or,  (according  to   another   interpre- 

Since  PraAnti  is  thus  eternal  and  is  the  tation),  the  effect  and  the  cause, 

source  of  all  forms  (vikaras)  and  qualities  ;  Five    organs  of  sensation,     five  of 

(gunas),    .^tman   remains  ever    change-  activity,  Manas,  Buddhi,  and  Ahankara. 

19-20]  MATTER   AND    SPIRIT.  319 

(kirana).  Praknti  is  the  source  of  the  cause  and  the 
effect,  which  comprise  the  same  things  (that  were  denoted 
by  the  terms  'the  effect  and  the  instruments').  Or,  it 
may  be  that  the  sixteen  vikdms  '■^'-  or  emanations  are  here 
spoken  of  as  the  effect ;  and  the  seven  t  which  are  at  once 
praknti  and  viknti,  cause  and  effect,  and  which  are  there- 
fore called  Praknti-Vikritis,  are  spoken  of  as  the  cause. 
In  the  production  of  these,  the  cause  is  Praknti,  as  generat- 
ing them  all. 

And  now  will  be  shown  how  Purusha  is  the  cause  of 
sawsara.  ^Pnnisha,'  'Jiva,'  'Kshetyajna,'  'Bhoktyi  (Enjoyer)'J 
are  all  synonymous  terms.  Purusha  is  said  to  be  the  cause, 
as  perceiving  pleasure,  pain,  and  other  objects  of  experience. 

( Objection )  : — Why  should  Prakriti  and  Purusha  be 
regarded  as  the  cause  of  sawsara  by  way  of  generating 
causes  and  effects  and  experiencing  pleasure  and  pain  ? 

{AiiSK'ey )'. — How  could  there  be  sawsara  at  all  without 
Praknti  transforming  itself  as  causes  and  effects,  as  the  body 
and  the  senses,  as  pleasure  and  pain,  and  without  the 
conscious  Purusha  experiencing  them  ?  i  When,  on 
the  other  hand,  there  is  a  conjunction — in  the  form  of 
avidya  or  nescience — of  Purusha,  the  experiencer,  with 
Praknti,  the  opposite,  the  object  of  experience,  in  all  its 

*   The  ten  sense-organs,   Manas   and  t  The  three  last  terms  are  respective- 

ihe  five  sense-objects. — (A),  ly  intended  to  show  that   Purusha  here 

+  ..-.    ^^  u   .    »u      1-            J  .u     £  referred  to  is  not  the  Paraniatman  or  the 
T  VIZ.,  Mahat,  Aha»ikara,  and  the  five 

T         .                  J.            ,    ,                ^     ,  Highest  Self,  is  an  intelligent   (chetana) 

X  anmatras or  rudimental  elements.  Each  d         \               / 

„/-.,.                     •      r        •            J  principle,  is  a  conditioned  being. — (A) 

01  these  IS  an  emanation  from  us  prede-  >-          ^ 

cessor  and  is  in  turn  the  cause  of  its  5    For,  the  /Itman  who   is  ever  firee 

successor.     As  producing  all   these,    the  (nitya-mukta)  from  sa>;isara,   cannot   of 

Mulapraknti  is  their  cause,  their  basis.—  Himself  be  subject  to  sa»isara — (A). 



transformations  as  the  body  and  the  senses,  as  pleasure 
and  pain,  as  causes  and  effects,  then  only  is  sawsara  possi- 
ble. Wherefore  it  is  but  right  to  say  that  Praknti  and 
Purusha  are  the  cause  of  sawsara ;  the  one  generating  the 
body  and  the  senses,  the  other  experiencing  pleasures  and 

{Objection) : — What,  then,  is  this  sa;«sara?" 

{Answer): — Sawsara  is  the  experience  of  pleasure  and 
pain ;  and  Purusha  is  the  sa;;^sarin,  as  the  experiencer  of 
pleasure  and  pain,  f 

Avidya  and  Kama  are  the  cause  of  rebirths. 

It  has  been  said  that  Purusha  is  the  sawsarin  as  experi- 
encing pleasure  and  pain.  What  is  this  (experiencing  of 
pleasure  and  pain)  due  to  ? — The  Lord  says ; 

21.  Purusha,'when  seated  in  Praknti,  experiences 
the  qualities  born  of  Prak?'iti.  Attachment  to  the 
qualities  is  the  cause  of  his  birth  in  good  and  evil 

Because  Purusha,  the  experiencer,  is  seated  in  Praknti, 
in  avidya  or  nescience, — that  is  to  say,  because  he  identi- 
fies himself  with  the  body  and  the  senses  which  are 
emanations  of  Praknti, — he  experiences  the  qualities  born 
of  Praknti,  manifesting  themselves  as  pleasure,  pain  and 
delusion  ;    he  thinks,  "  I  am  happy,  I  am  miserable,  I  am 

*  The  objector  means:    If  ,4tnian   be  pleasure  or  pain,  the  Self,  the  experienc- 

immutable    (avikriya),     not    subject    to  er  remains   quite  unchanged.     It  is  this 

changes  of  state,  then  it  is  not  proper  to  experience    (bhoga)     which    constitutes 

say  that  He  is  ever  subject  to  sa«!sara.—  His  sa"!sara,  and  which   makes   Him  a 

(A).  sajHsarin— (A). 

+  That  is  to  say  :    while  experiencing 

20-21.]  MATTER  AND  SPIRIT.  321 

deluded,  I  am  wise."  Over  and  above  avidya  (the  cause 
of  birth),  His  attachment  to  (/.  c,  identification  of  Himself 
with  )  what  He  experiences, — namely,  the  (jualities  of 
pleasure,  pain  and  delusion,  —  forms  the  main  cause  of 
Purusha's  birth.     The  sruti  says  : 

"  As  is  his  desire,  so  is  his  will."    {Byi.  Up.  4-4-5.) 

Accordingly  the  Lord  says  here : — The  experiencer's 
attachment  for  qualities  leads  him  to  birtlis  in  good  and 
evil  wombs. 

Or,  the  second  half  of  the  verse  may  be  construed,  by 
supplying  the  word  '  sawsara,'  so  as  to  mean  :  Attachment 
for  qualities  is  the  cause  of  His  sa;//sara  through  births  in 
good  and  evil  wombs. 

Good  wombs  are  those  of  Devas  and  the  like ;  evil  wombs 
are  those  of  lower  animals.  We  may  also  add,  as  implied 
here — being  opposed  to  no  teaching, — the  wombs  of  men 
which  are  (partly)  good  and  (partly)  evil. 

The  sense  of  the  passage  maybe  explained  as  follows: 
A^•idya,,  —  spoken  of  as  (Purusha's)  being  'seated  in 
Prak/'iti,' — and  Kama  or  attachment  for  qualities,  together 
constitute  the  cause  of  sawsara.''' 

Self=knowledge  removes  the  cause  of  samsara. 

This  twofold  cause  has  been  taught  here  for  avoidance, 
[i.e.,  in  order  that  we  may  try  to  remove  it).  The  means 
of  bringing  about  the  removal  of  the  (twofold)  cause  are 
Jnana  and  \'airagya,  i.e.,  knowledge  and  indifference  con- 
joined with  sa//myasa  or  renunciation  I    as  has  been  clearly 

*  Avidya  beinj,'  the  nlxuhma  or  matrnial  knowledge  coupled  vvUh  s  UMiyas.i  briiiRS 

cause,  and  kama  the  nimitUi   or   efficient  about  the  cc£S:ition  of  avid)  a  ,uul  kauia.- 

cause. — A  ,V. 

t  Vdiragya    leads    to  saj;inyasa ;     and 



taught  in  the  Gita-sastra.  This  knowledge,  the  knowledge 
of  Kshetra  and  Kshetrajna,  has  been  imparted  in  the  begin- 
ning of  this  discourse.  And  it  has  also  been  imparted  in 
xiii.  12,  et.  seq.,  both  by  eliminating  foreign  elements 
(xiii.  12)  and  by  attributing  alien  properties  (xiii.  i^,et.  scq.) 

Now  again  the    Lord    proceeds    to    teach    directly    what 
that  knowledge  is : 

22.  Spectator  and  Permitter,  Supporter,  En- 
joyer,  the  Great  Lord,  and  also  spoken  of  as  the 
Supreme  Self,  (is)  the  Purusha  Supreme  in  this 

Spectator  (Upadrash^/'i) :  a  bystander  and  a  witness,  Him- 
self not  acting.  When  priests  and  the  sacrificer  are  engaged 
in  a  sacrificial  act,  there  is  another,  an  expert  in  sacri- 
ficial matters,  sitting  by  their  side,  not  taking  part  in  the 
act,  and  discerning  what  is  good  and  what  is  bad  in  the 
acts  of  the  sacrificer  and  of  the  priests  ;  just  so,  not  taking 
part  in  the  activities  of  the  body  and  the  senses,  the  Self  is 
distinct  from  them,  a  near  witness  of  the  body  and  the 
senses  and  all  their  acts. — Or,  it  may  be  also  explained  thus  ; 
The  body,  the  sense  of  sight,  Manas,  Buddhi,  and  the  Self 
are  the  seers.  Of  the-e,  the  body  is  the  most  external  seer; 
and  viewed  from  the  body  inwards,  the  Self  is  the  innermost 
and  nearest  seer,  and  beyond  Him  there  is  no  seer  in  the 
interior.  Thus,  baing  the  nearest  seer.  He  is  spoken  of  as 
'  Upadrashf/'i.'  Or,  the  Self  is  Upadrash^n  because,  like  the 
Upadrash/n  in  the  sacrificial  rite,  He  watches  all.  He  is 
also  the  Permitter  (Anumantn),  expressing  approbation 
or  satisfaction  concerning  the  acts  of  those  who  are 
engaged  in  action.— Or,  though  Himself  not  engaged  in  ac- 
tion  while    the   body   and  senses  are  active,     He   seems 

21-23.]  MATTER    AND    SPIRIT.  223 

to  be  active  in  co-operation  with  them. — Or,  being  their 
mere  witness,  He  never  stands  in  the  way  of  those 
that  are  engaged  in  their  respective  activities.  Supporter 
(Bhartn)  :  The  Self  is  called  the  Supporter,  because  the 
body,  the  senses,  Manas  and  Buddhi — which  aggregate 
together  to  serve  the  purposes  of  some  one  else,  viz.^  the 
Intelligent  Self,  and  which  are,  or  which  convey,  mere 
reflections  of  the  Intelligence — are  what  they  are,  only  as 
made  by  that  Intelligent  Self.  Enjoyer  (Bhoktn)  :  The  Self  is 
the  enjoyer  because  by  the  Self  who  is  '  nitya-chaitanya- 
svarupa',  i.  e.,  whose  inherent  nature  is  eternal  intelli- 
gence, just  as  heat  is  the  inherent  nature  of  fire,  are  clearly 
perceived,  in  their  mutual  relations,  all  states  of  mind 
(buddhe/i-pratyaya/i),  constituted  of  pleasure,  pain  and  delu- 
sion, which,  as  they  come  into  being,  are  permeated  as  it 
were  by  the  intelligent  Self.  The  Gnat  Lord  :  As  one  with 
the  whole  universe  and  independent  of  all,  He  is  the  Great 
One  as  well  as  the  Lord, 

The  Supreme  5^// (Paramatman) :  the  Self  who  has  been 
defined  as  the  Spectator,  etc.,  is  Supreme,  because  He  is 
superior  to  all  those  th'ngs — from  the  physical  body  up  to 
the  Avyakta — which  are  through  ignorance  mistaken  for 
the  Inner  Self.  Whence  He  is  spoken  of  as  'Paramatman' 
in  the  5ruti  also. — Where  is  He  ? — Purusha,  who  transcends 
the  Avyakta,  as  will  be  described  hereafter  in  xv.  17,  is  here 
in  this  body. 

The  Self  treated  of  in  xiii.  2  has  been  described  at  length, 
and  the  subject  has  been  concluded.  As  to  him  who  knows 
the  Self  thus  described  : 

23.     He  who  thus  knows  Purusha  and   Prak7'iti 
together  with  qualities,  whatever  his  conduct,  he 

324  THE    BHAGAVAD-GlTA.  [DiS.  XIII. 

is  not  born  again. 

He  who  knows  Purusha  in  the  manner  mentioned  above,* 
i.e.,  he  who  directly  perceives  Him  as  his  very  Self,  '  This 
I  am,'  he  who  knows  Prakfiti  or  Avidya  described  above  i 
with  all  its  modifications,  i.  e.,  he  who  knows  the  Prakriti 
as  resolved  into  nothing  (abhdva)  by  vidya  or  knowledge, — 
whatever  life  he  may  lead,  (i.  e.,  whether  he  is  engaged  in 
the  prescribed  duties  or.  forbidden  acts),  he  is  not  born 
again  ;  that  is,  he  will  not  have  to  put  on  another  body  on 
the  death  of  this,  i.  e.,  at  the  end  of  the  birth  in  which  he 
has  attained  wisdom.  How  much  more  so  the  wise  man 
who  stands  firm  in  the  path  of  duty. 

{Objection)  : — What  acts  are  neutralised  by  knowledge  ? — 
Absence  of  rebirth  subsequent  to  the  attainment  of  know- 
ledge has  indeed  been  taught  here.  But,  inasmuch  as  it  is 
not  right  (to  suppose)  the  annihilation,  before  producing  their 
respective  effects,  of  those  acts  which  were  done  (in  the 
present  birth)  before  the  attainment  of  knowledge  or  of 
those  acts  which  may  be  done  thereafter,  or  of  those  which 
had  been  done  in  the  many  past  births,  there  should  be  at 
least  three  (more)  births ;  for  it  is  not  right  to  suppose  the 
ann  hilation  of  these  acts  any  more  than  to  suppose  the 
annihilation  of  the  deeds  whose  fruits  are  being  reaped  in 
the  present  birth.  And  we  see  no  distinction  between  (these 
two  groups  of)  acts  J.    Accordingly,  the  three  clasess  of  acts 

•  As  ihe  basic  Reality  underlying  knowledge,  so  that  there  is  no  force  in 
all  manifestations  such  as  Jiva,  /svara,  the  possible  argument  that  the  acts %vhich 
and  so  on. — A.  can   be    neutralised    by    knowledge   are 

t   As  beginningless,    as    indefinable       '^ose  which  have   not    yet   begun   their 

,     .     ,   ,      ,        .,  1     11       -1  effects,  not  those  which  have  already  bc- 

(anirvachya),  as  the  source  of  all  evil. —  -' 

.  gun  their  effects  by  way  of  generating  the 

J  As  all  acts  alike  result  from  aj)u!m.       ^  >•     •  ■ 

tbey  must   all  alike   be   neutralised   by 

■23.]  MATTER  AND  SPIRIT.  325 

will  give  rise  to  thiee  births  ;  or  all  of  them  combining 
together  will  give  rise  to  a  single  birth.  Otherwise,  the 
possibility  of  annihilation  of  what  has  been  done  would 
lead  to  uncertainty  everywhere,  and  the  sastra  (all  scriptural 
injunctions)  would  become  useless.  Wherefore  it  is  not 
right  to  say  that  '  he  is  not  born  again.' 

[Answcv)  : — No,    (it  is  right),  as  the  following  passages  of 
the  sruti  show  : 

'  His  deeds  perish.' — {Mund.  Up.  2-2-8.) 

*  He  who  knows  Brahman,  becomes  Brahman  It- 
self.'—  {Ibid.,  3-2-9). 

'  For  him  there  is  only  delay  so  long  as  he  is  not 
delivered  (  from  the  present  body  ). — (  Chhand.  Up. 

'  As  the  soft  WhxQS  of  the  ishika  reed  are  burnt  in  the 
fire,  so  all  his  actions  are  burnt.' — [Ibid.,  5-24-3). 

Consumption  of  all  acts  has  been  taught  here  also  in  iv.  37 
and  will  be  taught  also  hereafter. '■=  And  this  also  stands  to 
reason ;  for,  only  those  acts  which  spring  from  avidya 
(nescience),  from  desire  (kama)  and  such  other  affections, 
which  are  the  seeds  f  of  all  evil,  can  cause  future  births ; 
and  it  has  also  been  stated  by  the  Lord  here  and  there  in 
the  Gita  that   those  actions  which    are  accompanied  with 

*   In  xviii.  66.  the  Lord  teaches  Arjuna  their   seeds   have   been    fried   in   know, 

to   abandon  all  Dharmas,  thus  showing  ledge  ;  those  acts  are  said    to  exist  only 

that  knowledge  consumes  all  actions — A.  in  so  far  as  they   present   themselves   to 

t  These  seeds  of  evil,  termed  klesas  are  his    consciousness,     pratitimatradehah. 

avidya,  asmita,  riiga,   dvesha,  and   abhi-  Being  karmnbhasas,  mere  semblances  of 

nivesa.     Only    those  acts  of  dharma   and  karma, they  are  not  eftective  causes  and 

adharma   which  are  occasioned  by  these  cannot  bring  about  births  ;  a  burnt  cloth, 

klesas  can  bring   about   incarnate    exist-  for   instance,  cannot  serve  the  purposes 

ence.    But  as  to  the  acts  of  a  wise  man,  of  a  cloth — A. 


egotism  and  desire — but  not    other  actions — are    productive 
of  results.     It  is  also  said  elsewhere, 

"  As  the  fire-burnt  seeds  do  not   sprout  again,  so  the 
.  body  cannot  be  formed  again  by  wisdom-burnt    affec- 

{Objection): — Granted  that  knowledge  consumes  acts  done 
subsequently  to  the  attainment  of  knowledge,  inasmuch  as 
they  are  accompanied  with  knowledge ;  but  it  is  not  possi- 
ble to  explain  how  it  can  consume  acts  done  in  this  life 
before  the  attainment  of  knowledge,  and  those  done  in  the 
several  past  births. 

(Answer)  : — Do  not  say  so,  because  of  the  qualification 
'  all  acts'  (iv.  37). 

(Objection) : — It  may  mean  all  those  acts  only  which  are 
done  subsequently  to  the  attainment  of  knowledge. 

(Answer) : — No,  for,  there  is  no  reason  for  the  limitation. 

Now  as  regards  the  contention  that  just  as  the  actions 
which  have  begun  their  effects  by  way  of  bringing  about  the 
present  birth  do  not  perish  in  spite  of  knowledge,  so  also 
even  those  acts  which  have  not  yet  begun  to  produce  their 
effects  cannot  perish,  (we  say)  it  is  wrong. — How  ? — For, 
the  former  have,  like  an  arrow  discharged,  begun  their 
effects.  Just  as  an  arrow  once  discharged  from  a  bow  at  an 
aim  does  not,  even  after  piercing  through  the  aim,  cease  to 
act  till  it  drops  down  on  the  exhaustion  of  the  whole  force 
with  which  it  was  propelled,"  so  also,  though  the  purpose 

♦  i.  e.,  provided  its  action  is  11  Jt  checked  arises  with  its   power   checked   by  that 

by  some  overpowering   obstacle   in   the  karma,  as  the  latter  has   already   begun 

way.      And   Self-knowledge   is   no   such  to  operate.  Accordingly,  the  »;flects  of  the 

obstacle  in  the  way  of  the  karma   which  pr«rabdha-karma  should  be   worked  out 

has  brought  about  the  present  birth ;  for,  in  full. — A, 
even  while    that    knowledge  arises,    it 

23-24.]  MATTER    AND    SPIRIT.  327 

of  the  bodily  existence  has  been  gained,  the  effects  of  actions 
which  have  produced  the  body  continue  as  before  till 
the  exhaustion  of  their  inherent  energy.  (On  the  other  hand), 
just  as  the  same  arrow  when  not  yet  propelled  with  the 
energy  which  is  the  cause  of  its  activity,  i.  c,  when  not 
discharged,  can  be  withdrawn,  though  already  fixed  in  the 
bow,  so  also,  the  acts  which  have  not  yet  begun  their 
effects,  which  only  abide  in  their  own  seat,'''  can  be  neutra- 
lised by  the  knowledge  of  truth.  Thus  it  is  but  right  to  say 
that  when  the  body  of  a  wise  man  perishes  '  he  is  not  born 


The  four  paths  to  Self-knowledge. 

Now,  there  are  several  paths  to  Self-knowledge,  and 
they  are  mentioned  here  as  follows : 

24.  By  meditation  some  behold  the  Self  in  the 
self  by  the  self,  others  by  Sankhya-Yoga,  and 
others  by  Karma- Yoga. 

Meditation  (Dhyana)  consists  in  withdrawing  by  con- 
centration hearing  and  other  senses  into  the  Manas  away 
from  sound  and  other  sense-objects,  then  withdrawing 
Manas  into  the  Inner  Intelligence,  and  then  contemplating 
(that  Inner  Intelligence).  Hence  the  comparison,  "  the 
crane  meditates   as  it  were ;  the  earth  meditates  as  it  were 

the  mountains  meditate  as  it  were"  (Chha.  Up.  7-6-1) 

Dhyana  is  a  continuous  and   unbroken   thought   like  a  line 
of  flowing  oil.     By  meditation  the  Yogins  behold  f  the  Self, 

*  Sviisraya,  s/ibhrisa  -  anta/i  -  karaiia,  +  These  Vogins,  who  are  of  the  highest 
I.  «.,  the  inner  sense  or  Manas  contain-  dass  of  aspirants  (uttamadhik.irins)  be- 
ing the  reflection  of  Spiritual  Intelli-  hold  the  Self,  by  meditation,  to  be  identi- 
gence. — A.  cal  with  the  Parauuitman. — A. 

238  THE  BHAGAVAD-GiTA.  [DiS.    XIII. 

the  Inner  Intelligence,  in  the  self  (Buddhi)  by  the  self,  by 
their  own  intelligence,  i.  c,  by  the  anta/i-kara«a  refined  by 
Dhyana. — Sankhya  consists  in  thinking  thus  :  '  these,  Sattva, 
Rajas  and  Tamas,  are  Gu/^as,  Atman  is  the  witness  of  their 
acts,  eternal,  and  distinct  from  the  Gu«as.'  By  Sankhya- 
Yoga  "'•'  some  f  behold  the  Self  in  the  self  by  the  self. — • 
Karma  is  Yoga  |,  i.e.,  that  Karma  or  action  which  is  per- 
formed in  the  service  of  the  Lord  (Isvara).  Such  a  course 
of  action  is  Yoga — only  by  a  figure  of  speech — inasmuch  as 
it  leads  to  Yoga.  Some  j  behold  the  Self  by  this  Yoga  of 
action,  which,  causing  purity  of  the  mind  (sattva),  gives 
rise  to  knowledge. 

25.     Yet    others,     not    knowing   thus,   worship, 

having  heard  from  others  ;  they,  too,  cross  beyond 

death,  adhering  to  what  they  heard. 

'     But  there  are  yet  others,  who,  not  able  to  know  the  Self 

described  above  by  any  one  of  the   several  methods  already 

pointed  out,  learn  from    others,  from  acharyas  or   teachers 

who  tell  them    "  Do  thou  thus  rpeditate    upon   this"  ;  they 

then  engage  in  worship,  i.  e.,  they  contemplate  the  idea  in 

full    faith.     Even    they    cross   beyond   death,    i.  e.,  beyond 

sawsara  which  is  associated  with   death— even  they  whose 

best    equipment    when    connnencing    to   tread   the  path  of 

moksha  consists  in   what  they  have  heard,  i.  e.,  who   solely 

depend  upon  the  authority  of  other's  instructions  and  are 

•  S-inkhya  is   knowledge  got   through  I  As  causing  purity   of  mind,     Karma 

intellectual  investigation  (vichara).     As  leads   to  Yoga,    to   the   concentration  of 

leading  to   Yoga,  it  is  spoken  of  as  Yoga  nimd.— A. 

.,     ,-      ,  S  These   are  the  lowest   class  of  aspir- 

itself.— A.  -^ 

ants. — A 
t   These  are  the  aspirants  of  the  middl- 
ing class  (madhyauuidhi)uirins)  — A. 

24-26]  MATTER    AND    SPIRIT.  329 

themselves  ignorant.     How  much  more  so,  then,  those  who 
can  independently  appreciate  evidence  and  discriminate. 

Nothing  exists  outside  the   Self. 

The  knowledge  of  the  identity  of  Kshetrajna  with  the 
isvara — of  the  individual  soul  with  the  Lord — as  taught 
in  xiii.  2  lias  been  spoken  of  in  xiii.  12  as  the  means  to 
moksha. — For  what  reason  is  it  so  ? — The  Lord  proceeds  to 
explain  the  reason. 


26.  Whatever  being  is  born,  the  unmoving  or 
the  moving,  know  thou,  O  best  of  the  Bharatas,  that 
to  be  owing  to  the  union  of  Kshetra  and  Kshetrajna.* 

[Ohjectiou): — Of  what  sort  is  this  union  of  Kshetra  and 
Kshetrajna  meant  to  be  ?  The  union  of  Kshetrajna  with 
Kshetra  cannot  certainly  be  a  relation  through  contact 
(sawyoga)  of  each  other's  parts,  as  between  a  rope  and  a 
vessel,  inasmuch  as  Kshetrajna  is,  like  the  akasa,  without 
parts.  Nor  can  it  be  of  the  nature  of  samavaya  or  insepar- 
able inherence,  inasmuch  as  it  cannot  be  admitted  that 
Kshetra  and  Kshetrajna  are  related  to  each  other  as  cause 
and  efll'ect. 

{Ansic'er)  : — The  union  between  Kshetra  and  Kshetrajna, 
between  the  object  and  the  subject,  which  are  opposed  to 
each  other  in  nature,  is  of  the  nature  of  mutual  adhyasa  ;  /.f ., 
it  consists  in  confounding  them  as  well  as  their  attributes 
with  each  other  owing  to  the  absence  of  a  discrimination 
between  the  nature  of  Kshetra  and  that  of  Kshetrajna,  like 

*  Everything  is  born  of  the  union  of  who  is  one  with  the  P.iramatman  ;  thcre- 
Kshetra  and  Kshetrajna ;  there  exists  no  fore  knowledge  of  that  unity  alone  can 
being   whatever  apart  h-oni     Kshetrajna       lead  to  moksha,— A. 



the  union  of  a  rope  and  a  mother-of-pearl  respectively 
with  a  snake  and  silver  when  they  are  mistaken  the  one  for 
the  other  owing  to  the  absence  of  discrimination.  The 
union  of  Kshetra  and  Kshetrajna  which  is  of  the  nature  of 
adhyasa — which  consists  in  confounding  the  one  with  the 
other — is  a  sort  of  illusion  (mithyajfulna) ;  and  this  illusion 
vanishes — because  of  its  opposition  to  the  right  knowledge 
— when  a  man  attains  to  a  knowledge  of  the  distinction 
between  Kshetra  and  Kshetrajna  as  defined  in  the  sastra, 
when  he  is  able  to  separate  Kshetrajna  from  Kshetra  like 
the  ishika  reed  from  the  munja-grass  and  to  realise  that 
Brahman,  the  Knowable,  which  is  devoid  of  all  upadhis  as 
described  in  the  words  "  It  is  not  said  to  be  existent  or 
non-existent  "  (xiii.  12)  is  his  own  Self,  when  he  is  convinced 
that,  like  the  elephants  and  palaces  projected  by  a  juggler's 
art,  or  like  a  thing  seen  in  a  dreani,  or  like  a  gandharva- 
nagara  (an  imaginary  city  in  the  sky),  Kshetra  is  non- 
existent and  only  appears  to  be  existent.  As  the  cause  of 
birth  has  vanished  in  the  case  of  such  a  man,  it  stands  to 
reason  that  the  wise  man  is  not  born  again  (xiii.  23). 

The  one  Self  in  all. 

It  has  been  said  (xiii.  23)  that  the  effect  of  right  know- 
ledge is  tlie  cessation  of  births  through  the  removal  of 
avidya  (nescience)  and  the  like  '■'■■  which  form  the  seed  of 
sa;wsara.  It  has  also  been  said  that  the  cause  of  birth  is 
the  union  of  Kshetra  and  Kshetrajna  caused  by  avidya. 
Therefore,  the  right  knowledge  which  alone  can  remove 
avidyji,  though  already  described,  will  again  be  described 
in  other  words  as  follows  : 

27.     He   sees,     who    sees   the    Supreme    Lord, 

*  J.  e.,  effects  (sa»iskara)  ot  avidya — A. 

26-27.]  MATTER  AND  SPIRIT.  33 1 

remaining  the  same   in  all  bcinjj^s,  the  undying  in 
the  dying. 

The  Supreme  Lord  exists,  without  any  difference,  in  all 
living  beings,  from  Brahma  down  to  the  unmoving  object 
(sthavara).  He  is  the  Lord  Supreme  as  compared  with  the 
body,  senses,  Manas,  Buddhi,  the  Avyakta  (the  unmanifest- 
ed,  i.  e.,  the  causal  body,  the  ktiray/a-sarira,  avidya)  and  the 
individual  soul  (x\tman,  Jiva).  All  living  beings  are  perish- 
able while  the  Supreme  Lord  is  imperishable.  Thus  there 
is  a  great  disparity  between  the  Supreme  Lord  and  the 
created  beings.  For,  of  all  changing  states  of  a  being 
(bhava-vikaras),  the  change  of  state  called  birth  is  the  root; 
all  the  other  changes  ending  with  destruction  occur  subse- 
quently to  birth.  There  can  be  no  change  of  state  subse- 
quent to  destruction,  since  the  object  itself  does  not  exist. 
Attributes  can  exist  only  when  the  substance  exists.  Where- 
fore, the  denial  of  the  final  change  of  state  comprehends 
the  denial  of  all  the  preceding  changes  as  well  as  their 
effects.  Thus  it  may  be  seen  that  the  Supreme  Lord  is 
quite  unlike  all  beings  and  that  He  is  one  and  immutable 
in  all.  He  sees  (rightly)  who  sees  the  Supreme  Lord  as 
now  described. 

[Objection) : — -Tlie  whole  world  sees ;  why  this  one  in 
particular  ? 

[Answey) : — True,  the  world  sees;  but  it  sees  erroneously. 
Hence  the  particularisation  '  he  alone  sees.'  A  man  whose 
eye  is  affected  with  timiva  sees  more  moons  than  one  ;  and 
with  reference  to  him,  he  who  sees  one  moon  luay  be 
specified  thus,  '  he  alone  sees.'  Similarly  here,  lie  who  sees 
the  one  undivided  Self  as  described  above  is  distinguished — 
from  those    who  erroneously   see    many  distinct  selfs — in 


the  words  '  he  alone  sees.'  Others,  though  seeing,  yet  do 
not  see,  inasmuch  as  they  see  erroneously  like  those  who 
see  more  moons  than  one. 

Knowledge  of  the  one  Self  leads  to  moksha. 

To  praise  the  Right  Knowledge  described  above  by  way 
of  stating  its  results  the  Lord  proceeds  as  follows  : 

28.  Because  he  who  sees  the  Lord,  seated  the 
same  everywhere,  destroys  not  the  self  by  the  self, 
therefore  he  reaches  the  Supreme  Goal. 

He  who  realises  that  the  Isvara  described  in  the  last  preced- 
ing verse  is  the  same — i.  c,  he  who  sees  that  He  dwells 
in  all  creatures  alike — destroys  not  his  own  self  by  himself. 
Because  he  does  not  destroy  the  self,  he  reaches  the 
Supreme  Goal,  he  attains  moksha. '•' 

[Objection) : — No  living  being  whatever  destroys  itself  by 
itself.  Where  then  is  the  necessity  for  the  denial  "  He 
destroys  not  the  self  by  the  self,"  any  more  than  for  the 
prohibition  f  "  fire  should  be  consecrated  not  on  earth,  not 
in  the  sky,  not  in  heaven  "  (Tait.  Sa;;/.  5-2-7)  ? 

(Ansii/er)  : — This  objection   does  not  apply  here  ;  for,   the 

necessity    may  be  explained  on  the  ground  that  ignorant 

/    men   are  guilty  of  ignoring   the  Self.    ''An  ignorant   man 

*  Knowledge  destroys  ignorance,    and       ^,^,_^^  .^  .^  ^^^^.^^^^  ,^  ^^^^^  ^^^  ^^  ^^^^^ 

with   it   all  evil   is  destroyed.      On   the  g^^^  ^^^  prohibition  of  the   construction 

destruction   of  nescience   ( aj»ana  )   and  ^^  ^,^^^_.^  ._^  ^^^  ^^^  ^_^^  .^^  ^^^  ^^^^.^^^  ^_^^ 

false  knowledge     (  niithyd-j,.<ina  ),     the  „„  meaning,  as  there  is  no  occasion  for 

two  veils    that  have    hidden    the   true  ^^^  procedure.      It   has  been   therefore 

nature  of  the  Self,  the  sage   attains   the  determined    that  the   prohibition   in  this 

highest  goal,  the  highest  end  of  man,  the  ^^^^^^  ^^^^     should   not   be    understood 

Supreme  Bliss  (ParanKinanda;.— A.  literally.      Similarly    we   cannot    nnder- 

t  The  prohibition  of  the  construction  of  .^i^„(j  tijg  denial  here  liten-lly.— A. 
the  altar  on   Earth  has  a  meaning,  be- 

27-29.]  MATTER  AND  SPIRIT.  333 

ignores  the  Self  who  is  quite  manifest  to  all,  self-manifested, 
and  directly  visible,  and  he  regards  the  not-Self  (physical 
body,  etc.)  as  himself.  Having  performed  good  and  evil 
works  (dharma  and  a-dharma),  he  kills  even  this  self  (the 
physical  body,  etc.)  which  he  had  accepted  and  accepts 
another  new  self ;  he  kills  this  again  and  accepts  another, 
and  so  on  ;  thus  he  goes  on  killing  every  new  self  that  he 
has  accepted.  An  ignorant  man  is,  accordingly,  a  slayer 
of  the  self.  /Even  the  real  Self  is  always  killed  by  avidya, 
inasmuch  as  there  is  no  perceptible  effect  of  His  existence. 
Thus,  all  ignorant  men  are  but  the  slayers  of  the  self.  He 
who,  on  the  other  hand,  sees  the  Self  as  described  al)ove, 
kills  not  self  by  self  in  either  of  the  ways  shown  above. 
Wherefore,  he  reaches  the  supreme  goal ;  he  reaps  the 
fruit  spoken  of  above. 

Prakriti  acts,  not  the  Self. 

It  has  been  said  that  he  who  sees  the  Lord  (the  Self) 
remaining  the  same  in  every  being  destroys  not  the  self  by 
the  self.  This  may  be  objected  to  on  the  ground  that  there 
are  many  selfs,  differentiated  by  differences  in  their  respective 
deeds  (karma)  and  qualities.  To  remove  this  objection  the 
Lord  says : 

29.  He  sees,  who  sees  all  actions  performed  by 
Prakriti  alone  and  the  Self  not  acting. 

Praknti  is  the  Lord's  Maya  composed  of  the  three  gu;/as. 
So  the  j\Iantra  reads, 

'*  Let  him  know  that  Maya  is  the  Praknti  and  that 
the  Great  Lord  is  the  possessor  of  Maya. — (Svetasva* 
tara-Up.  4-10.) 

By  Prakriti, — i.  e.,  Maya,  the  Sakti  or  inherent  energy 

334  'THE  bhagavad-gIta.  [Dis.  XIII. 

of  the  Lord,  not  the  other,  i.  e.,  not  the  (Pradhana,  the 
self-existent)  Prak/'iti  (of  the  Sankhyas)  described  as  trans- 
forming Itself  into  causes  and  effects  such  as  the  Mahat, — 
are  done  all  sorts  of  actions,  whether  done  in  speech, 
thought,  or  deed.  He  sees,  who  realises  this  truth  and  also 
the  truth  that  the  Self  (Kshetrajna)  is  devoid  of  all  upadhis 
or  conditions  ; — i.  c,  he  sees  the  supreme  truth.  There  is 
no  evidence  to  show  that  there  is  any  variety  in  Him  who 
is  non -agent,  unconditioned,  and  free  from  all  specialities, 
just  as  there  is  no  variety  in  the  akasa. 

The  5elf  is  the  source  and  the  abode  of  all. 

The  same  Right  Knowledge  is  again  expounded  in  other 
words  :  * 

30.  When  a  man  realises  the  whole  variety  of 
beings  as  resting  in  the  One,  and  as  an  evolution 
from  that  (One)  alone,  then  he  becomes  Brahman. 

/  -AVhen,  in  accordance  with  the  teachings  of  the  sastraand 
(  of  the  teacher,  he  sees  that  all  the  various  classes  of  beings 
abide  in  the  One,  in  the  Self,  i.  c,  when  he  intuitively 
realises  that  all  that  we  perceive  is  only  the  Selff,  and  when 
he  further  sees  that  the  origin,  the  evolution,  (of  all)  is  from 
that  One,  the  Self, — as  stated  in  the  passage  "  From  the  Self 
is  life,  from   the  Self  is   desire,  from  the  Self  is  love,  from 

*  With  a  view  to  prevent  the  supposi-  realisss  ths  essential  unity  of  the  universe 

lion  that  Prakiiti   and  its  modifications  "ith  the  Self.     To   realise  this  unity,  one 

are  quite  distinct  from   Purusha,   quite  must  merge  the  Prakriti  also  in  unity  with 

external  to  him,  as  the  Siinkhyas  say — A.  the  Self;  for  it  is  not  possible  to  merge  the 

i  To  explain  :  on  seeing  that  the  whole  universe  of  forms  in  unity    with  the  pure 

universe  of  being  in  all  its  variety,  from  Self  except  by  merging  also  the  Prakritii 

Prakriti  down  to  the  ultimate  particulars  the  root   of  ths   whole    universe,  in   the 

(visesha),  is  evolved  from  the   Self,   has  Self. — .V. 
derived     its  being    from    the     Self,   he 

29-31-]  MATTER  AND  SPIRIT.  335 

the  Self  is  akasa,  from  the   Self  is  light,  from   the  Self  are 
waters,  from   the  Self  is  manifestation  and  disappearance, 
from   the   Self  is   food."     (  Chhil.    Up.    7-26-1  )— then    he  ) 
becomes  Brahman  indeed. "jV- 

The  Self  is    unaffected  by  the  fruits  of  acts. 

If  the  one  Self  be  the  Self  in  all  the  bodies,  then  He 
must  be  necessarily  affected  by  their  defects.  To  avoid 
this  conclusion  it  is  said  . 

31.  Having  no  beginning,  having  no  qualities, 
this  Supreme  Self,  imperishable,  though  dwelling 
in  the  body,  O  son  of  Kunti,  neither  acts  nor  is 

The  Self  has  no  beginning,  no  cause.  That  which  has  a 
cause  perishes  by  itself,  whereas  This(Self)  does  not  perish, 
because,  as  having  no  cause,  He  is  without  parts.  Further, 
He  does  not  perish  because  He  is  without  qualities; 
for  that  which  has  qualities  perishes  by  loss  of  qualities ; 
whereas  the  Self  does  not  perish,  because  He  is  devoid  of 
qualities.  Thus  the  Supreme  Self  is  imperishable.  He 
suffers  no  destruction.  Therefore,  though  dwelling  in  the 
body, — the  Self  is  said  to  dwell  in  the  body  because  the 
Self  is  manifested  in  the  body, — yet  He  does  not  act. 
Because  He  does  not  act.  He  is  not  affected  by  the  results 
of  acts.  The  meaning  is  this  : — He  that  is  an  agent  is 
affected  by  the  fruit  of  the  act  ;  but  this  (the  Self)  is  a  non- 
agent  and  is  therefore  not  tainted  by  the  fruit  of  action. 

(  Objection  ) : — Who,  then,  in  the  bodies  acts  and  is 
tainted  ?     If,    on  the  one  hand,  an  embodied   self,  distinct 

ir  That   is   to  say,   he  realises  the    all-       as  the  cause   of  all   limitation   has  been 
pervading  nature  of  the  Self,  inasmuch      absorbed  into  unity  with  Self. — A. 


from  the  Supreme  Self,  acts  and  is  tainted,  then  the  identi- 
ty of  Kshetrajna  with  the  Isvara  spoken  of  in  such  places 
as  xiii.  2  would  be  inexplicable.  If,  on  the  other  hand, 
there  be  no  embodied  self  distinct  from  the  Isvara,  then  tell 
me  who  acts  and  is  tainted :  or  say  that  the  Isvara  is  not 
Supreme."-  On  the  ground  that  the  doctrine  of  the 
Upanishads  taught  by  the  Lord  is  thus  in  every  way  diffi- 
cult to  understand  and  difficult  to  explain,  it  has  been 
abandoned  by  the  Vaiseshikas,  as  well  as  by  the  Sankhyas, 
the  Arhatas,  and  the  Buddhists. 

(AiisK'ey): — As  regards  this  objection,  the  following 
answer  I  has  been  afforded  by  the  Lord  Himself. — "  It  is 
Nature  that  acts  "  (xiii.  2).  The  idea  that  there  is  one  who 
acts  and  is  tainted  is  a  mere  illusion  (avidya)  and  nothing 
else.  Action  does  not  really  exist  in  the  Supreme  Self.  It 
has,  for  this  very  reason,  been  pointed  out  by  the  Lord 
here  and  there  that  there  is  no  necessity  of  performing 
works  (karma)  for  those  devotees  of  Wisdom,  for  the  order 
of  Paramahawsa-Parivrajakas,  Avho  adhere  to  this  doctrine 
of  Supreme  Truth  (  Paramartha-Sankhya-darsana )  and 
have  risen  above  avidya  and  vyavahara,  nescience  and  all 
experience  (due  to  avidya). 

Like  what  does  He  not  act,  like  what  is  he  not  tainted? — 
Here  follows  the  illustration  : 

32.      As   the  all-pervading    akasa    is,     from    its 

subtletyt,  never  soiled,  so   the  Self  seated  in   the 
i  body  everywhere  is  not  soiled. 

•  If  the /svara  be  the  doer  and  c.ijjyer,  Him  by   avidyd.    Therefore  the  Lord's 

He   is  no   longer  the    /svara,  any   more  teaching  should  be  accepted  as  true. — A 

than  ourselves. — A.  J    Because   akasa.  is   so  subtle   that   it 

+  The  answer  is  this  :  The  Supreme  is  pervades   all   without   obstruction,    it  is 

in  reality  neither  the  doer  nor  the  enjoyer-  not  at  all   affected  by  mire,  etc.,  which  it 

Agency  and  enjoyment  are  attributed  to  pervades.— A. 

32-34']  MATTER   AND    Sl'IRlT.  337 

The  5elf  illumines  all. 


^^.  As  the  one  sun  illumines  all  this  world,  so 
does  the  embodied  One,  O  Bharata,  illumine  all 

The  embodied  one  (  Kshetrin  ),  the  Supreme  Self 
(Paramatman),  is  one  and  illumines  all  bodies,  the  whole 
material  being  (Kshetra),  from  the  Avyakta  (theunmanifest- 
ed  material  cause  of  the  universe)  down  to  the  unmoving 
objects,  from  the  '  Great  Elements '  down  to  '  firmness ' 
(xiii.  5-6). — The  illustration  by  means  of  the  sun  serves  here 
a  double  purpose  with  reference  to  the  Self, — showing  that, 
like  the  sun,  the  Self  is  One  only  in  all  bodies,  and  that 
like  the  sun,  He  is  unsoiled. 

The  doctrine  summed  up. 

The  teaching  of  the  whole  discourse  is  concluded  as 
follows : 

34.  They  who  by  the  eye  of  wisdom  perceive 
the  distinction  between  Kshetra  and  Kshetrajna, 
and  the  dissolution  of  the  Cause  of  beings, — they 
go  to  the  Supreme. 

They  who  in  this  manner  perceive  the  exact  distinction, 
now  pointed  out,  between  Kshetra  and  Kshetrajna,  by  the 
eye  of  wisdom,  by  means  of  that  knowledge  of  the  Self 

*  The  Lord  proceeds  to  show   that  the       affected  by  the  attributes  ot   the   coguis* 
Sslf,    b3ing     the    cogniser,     cannot    be      ed. — A. 


338  THE  BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.    Xlll. 

which  has  been  generated  by  the  teachings  of  the  sastra 
and  the  master  (iicharya),  and  who  also  perceive  the  non- 
existence of  Praknti,  Avidya,  Avyakta,  the  material  cause 
of  beings, — they  reach  Brahman,  the  Real,  the  Supreme 
Self,  and  assume  no  more  bodies. 


The  subject  of  the  discourse. 

It  has  been  said  that  all  that  is  born  is  produced  by  the 
conjunction  of  Kshetra  and  Kshetrajna. — How  can  it  be 
so  ? — The  present  discourse  is  intended  as  an  answer  to 
this  question. 

Or  the  connection  may  be  explained  thus :  With  a  view 
to  show  that  it  is  Kshetra  and  Kshetrajna,  both  dependent 
on  the  isvara, — but  not  independent  in  themselves  as  the 
Sankhyas  hold, — that  constitute  the  cause  of  the  universe,  it 
has  been  stated  that  the  dwelling  (of  the  Kshetrajna)  in  the 
Kshetra  {i.  c,  his  self-identification  with  Kshetra)  and  his 
attachment  for  the  Gu«as  form  the  cause  of  sa7;/sara  (xiii. 
2i). — In  what  Gunas  and  in  what  way  is  He  attached? 
What  are  the  Gu7;as  ?  How  do  they  bind  him  ?  How  is 
liberation  from  the  Gu«as  attained  ?  What  are  the  cha- 
racteristics of  a  liberated  soul  ? — With  a  view  to  answer 
these  questions,  the  Lord  proceeds  as  follows  : 

Knowledge  of  the  origin  of  the  universe  is 
necessary  for  Salvation. 

The  Blessed  Lord  said  : 

I.  I  shall  again  declare  that  sublime  knowledge, 
the  best  of  all  knowledges;  which  having  learnt,  all 
the  sages  have  passed  to  high  perfection  from  here. 

Though  declared   more  than  once  in  the  preceding  dis- 

340  THE  rhagavad-gIta  [Dis.  XIV- 

courses,  I  shall  again  declare  that  knowledge  which  is 
sublime  as  concerning  itself  with  the  Supreme  Being,  and 
which  is  the  best  of  all  knowledges'as  productive  of  the  best 
result.  ^  All  knoidedgcs  '  does  not  refer  to  those  which  have 
been  spoken  of  as  knowledge  in  the  verses  xiii.  7-10,  but  to 
those  kinds  of  knowledge  which  relate  to  sacrifices  and  other 
such  things  to  be  known.  These  (latter  kinds  of  knowledge) 
do  not  lead  to  salvation,  whereas  the  knowledge  which 
is  going  to  be  imparted  in  this  discourse  does  lead  to  salva- 
tion. So,  the  Lord  praises  this  latter  knowledge  by  the 
epithets  '  sublime  '  and  '  best,'  in  order  to  rouse  interest  in 
the  minds  of  the  hearers.  And  having  learnt  this  know- 
ledge, all  the  sages  (munis) — the  sawnyasins,  those  who 
are  devoted  to  contemplation  (manana) — have  passed  from 
here — from  this  bondage  of  the  body — to  high  perfection, 
known  as  moksha  or  liberation. 

The  Lord  now  proceeds  to  declare  that  this  knowledge 
unfailingly  leads  to  perfection  : 

2.  They  who,  having  resorted  to  this  knowledge, 
have  attained  to  unity  with  Me,  are  neither  born 
in    the   creation,  nor   disturbed  in  the  dissolution, 

'Unity'  (siidharmya)  here  nieans  'identity.'  It  does  not 
mean  'equality  in  attributes,'  since  in  the  Gita-sastrajio 
distinction  is  made  between  the  tsvara  and  the  Kshetrajna. 
And  a  declaration  of  the  (true  main)  end  (of  knowledge)  is 
here  necessary  to  praise  the  knowledge.'''  They  who,  having 
resorted   to    this   knowledge, — i.   c,   having   practised   the 

*  If  equality  were  meant  here,  then  it       dhyuna,  not  that  of  knowledge,  of  which 
would  only  be  a  statement  of  the  fruit  of       the  Lord  is  here  speaking.— A. 

1-4.]  THE  THREE  GUNAS.  34I 

necessary  means  whereby  to  attain  that  knowledge, — have 
attained  to  identity  with  Me,  the  Supreme  Lord,  are 
neither  born  at  the  time  of  creation  nor  disturbed  at  the 
time  of  dissolution;  /. f.,  they  are  not  afifected  even  at  the 
time  of  Brahma's  dissolution. 

Evolution  of  the  universe  from  the  union  of 
Spirit  and   Matter. 

The  Lord  now  proceeds  to  explain  what  sort  of  conjunc- 
tion of  Kshetra  and  Kshetrajfia  is  the  cause  of  all  beings: 

3.  My  womb  is  the  great  Brahman  ;  in  that  I 
place  the  germ  ;  thence,  O  Bharata,  is  the  birth 
of  all  beings. 

My  7i>omh'.  My  own  Praknti, — i.e.,  the  Prak;'iti  which 
belongs  to  Me,  the  Maya  made  up  of  the  three  Gu;/as,  the 
material  cause  of  all  beings.  This  Praknti  is  spoken  of 
as  great  because  it  is  greater  than  all  effects ;  and  as  the 
source  and  nourishing  energy  of  all  Its  modifications,  It 
is  termed  Brahman.  In  that  Great  Brahman  I  place  the 
germ,  the  seed  of  the  birth  of  the  Hira»yagarbha,  the  seed 
which  gives  birth  to  all  beings.  I  who  am  possessed  of 
the  two  potencies  (Saktis),  the  two  Prakntis  of  Kshetra 
and  the  Kshetrajfia,  unite  the  Kshetrajfia  with  Kshetra,  the 
Kshetrajfia  conforming  Himself  to  the  upadhis  of  avidya 
(nescience),  kama  (desire),  and  karma  (action).  This  act 
of  impregnation  gives  rise  to  the  birth  of  all  beings 
through  the  birth  of  the  Hira;iyagarbha. 

4.  Whatever  forms  are  produced,  O  son  of 
Kunti,  in  any  wombs  whatsoever,  the  Great 
Brahman  is  their  womb,    I  the  seed-giving  Father. 

342  THE  bhagavad-gIta.  [Dis.  XIV. 

Wombs :  such  as  the  Devas,  the  Pitns,  men,  cattle, 
beasts.  Forms  :  such  as  the  bodies  which  are  the  condensed 
aggregations  of  several  parts  and  limbs.  Of  these  forms, 
the  Great  Brahman  ( Praknti )  which  passes  through  all 
states  of  matter  is  the  cause  ;  and  I,  the  Isvara,  am  the 
Father,  the  author  of  impregnation  of  the  seed  in  the 

The  gunas  bind  the  soul. 

What  are  the  gu»as  ?  How  do  they  bind  ? — The  answer 
follows : 

5.  Sattva,  Rajas,  Tamas,  —  these  gu«as,  O 
mighty-armed,  born  of  Prakriti,  bind  fast  in  the 
body  the  embodied,  the  indestructible. 

Sattva  (goodness),  Rajas  ( vigour,  activity,  passion  )  and 
Tamas  (darkness) — thus  are  the  gu?;as  named. — '  Gu7/a '  is  a 
technical  term.  It  does  not  mean  a  property,  attribute  or 
quality,  such  as  colour,  as  opposed  to  the  substance  in  which 
it  is  said  to  inhere. '■=  No  separate  existence  of  a  gwia.  and 
a  gumn — of  an  attribute  and  a  substance — is  [meant  here. 
Accordingly,  the  gu«as  here  meant  are  so  called  because, 
like  the  attributes  of  substances,  they  are  ever  dependent 
on  another,  namely,  the  Kshetrajwa,  as  they  are  only  forms 
of  avidya  or  nescience  ;  and  they  bind  fast  ^5  it  weve  the 
Kshetraj«a.  They  are  said  to  bind  Kshetrajna  because 
they  come  into  being  with  Kshelrajj^a  as  the  basis  of  their 
existence.     Born  of  the  Lord's  Maya,   they  bind  fast  as  it 

*  These  Gunas  are  the  primary  consti-       be  said  to  be  qualities  inhering  in  these 
tuents  of  the  Praknti  and  are   the   bases       substances. — A, 
of  all  substances  ;  they  cannot  therefore 

4-6.]  THE    THREE    GUNAS.  343 

were  in  the  body  the  embodied"''  one,  the  indestructible  Self.f 
That  the  Self  is  indestructible  has  been  shown  in  xiii.  31. 
Mighty-armed  :  with  powerful  arms  reaching  down  to  the 

(Objection) : — It  has  been  said  that  the  embodied  one  is  not 
tainted  (xiii.  31).  How  then,  on  the  contrary,  is  it  said 
here  that  the  gu«as  bind  him  ? 

(Ansiifcy)  : — We  have  met  this  objection  by  adding  *  as  it 
were  ' ,  '  they  bind  him  as  it  weve.^ 

The  nature  and  functions  of  the  gunas. 

Of  these  three  gu;/as,  Sattva  is  thus  defined  : 

6.  Of  these,  Sattva,  which,  from  its  stainless- 
ncss,  is  lucid  and  healthy,  binds  by  attachment  to 
happiness  and  by  attachment  to  knowledge,  O 
sinless  one. 

It  is  stainless  like  a  pebble-stone,  and  therefore  lucid 
and  healthy. t  Sattva  binds  the  Self  by  making  Him  think 
'  I  am  happy  : ' — it  binds  Him  by  causing  in  Him  attach- 
ment to  happiness  j,  by  bringing  about  a  union  of  the  sub- 
ject, (the  Self,)  with  the  object,  (happiness).  It  makes  Him 
think,  "  Happiness  has  accrued  to  me."  This  attachment 
to  happiness  is  an  illusion ;  it  is  avidya.  An  attribute  of 
the  object  cannot  indeed  belong  to  the  subject;  and   it  has 

*   Him  who  identities  himself  with  the  rellect  Consciousness  ;    healthy,  because 

body — A.  it  is  so  pure  as  to  perfectly  mirror  the 

f  They   make   it   appear   that   the   Self  Spiritual  Bliss.— A. 

undergoes  all  the  changes  that  take  place  S  The  happiness  and  knowledge  here 

In  them. — A.  spoken  of  ate  those   modifications   of  the 

;  It   is  stiiinUss,  because   it   is  able   to  Sattva  in  which  .-Itman's  inherent  happi- 

ward  oil  all  veiling  ;    lucid,  as    able  to  ness  and  consciousness  are  nianifested.-.\ 

344  THE    BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.  XIV. 

been  said  by  the  Lord  that  all  the  qualities  from  '  desire '  to 
'  courage '  (xiii.  6)  are  all  attributes  of  Kshetra  (matter), 
the  object.  Thus  it  is  through  avidya  alone — which  forms 
an  attribute  (dharma)  of  the  Self  as  the  non-discrimina- 
tion .  between  the  object  and  the  subject, —  that  Sattva 
causes  the  Self  to  be  attached  as  it  were  to  happiness  which 
is  not  His  own,  causes  Him,  who  is  free  from  all  attachment, 
to  be  engrossed  as  it  were  in  happiness ;  causes  to  feel 
happy  as  it  were  Him  who  does  not  possess  the  happi- 
ness. Similarly,  Sattva  binds  the  Self  by  attachment  to 
knowledge,  i'  rom  its  mention  here  along  with  '  happiness,' 
'  knowled,t;i. '  meant  here  must  be  an  attribute  of  the  anta/j- 
kara«a — of  the  Kshetra  (matter),  of  the  Object, — not  of 
the  Self ;  for  if  it  were  an  attribute  of  the  Self,  it  cannot  be 
an  attachment  and  cannot  be  a  bondage.  Attachment  to 
knowledge  arises  in  the  same  way  that  attachment_to 
happiness  arises. 

7.  Know  thou  Rajas  (to  be)  of  the  nature  of 
passion,  the  source  of  thirst  and  attachment  ;  it 
binds  fast,  O  son  of  Kunti,  the  embodied  one  by 
attachment  to  action. 

Rajas  is  of  the  nature  of  passion,  coloring  (the  soul)  like 
a  piece  of  red_  chalk,  &c.  Know  it  to  be  that  from  which 
arise  thirst  and  attachment, —  thiyst  after  what  has  not  been 
attained,  attachment  or  mental  adherence  to  what  has  been 
attained.  It  binds  fast  the  embodied  Self  by  attachment  to 
action,  Iw  making  Him  attached  to  actions  productive  of 
visible  and  invisible  results  ■•'- 


Though  the   self  is   not   the   agent,       the  doer.'— A 
Rajas  makes  Him  act  with  the  idea '  I  am 

6-IO.]  THE  THREE  GUNAS.  345 

8.  But,  know  thou  Tamas  to  be  born  of  un- 
wisdom, deluding  all  embodied  beings  ;  by  heed- 
lessness, indolence  and  sloth,  it  binds  fast,  O 

The  third  gu»a,    Tamas,  causes  delusion  or  non-discrimi 

Again  the  action  of  the  gu«as  is  briefly  described  as 
follows : 

9.  Sattva  attaches  to  happiness,  Rajas  to  ac- 
tion, O  Bharata,  while  Tamas,  enshrouding  wis- 
dom, attaches,  on  the  contrar}-,  to  heedlessness. 

Tamas,  by  its  very  nature  as  a  veil,  covers  the  judgment 
caused  by  Sattva  and  attaches  one  to  heedlessness,  i.  e.,  to 
the  non- performance  of  necessary  duties. 

The  mutual  action  of  the  gunas. 

When  do  the  guwas  produce  the  effects  described  above  ?  •' 
— The  answer  follows  : 

10.  Sattva  arises,  0  Bharata,  predominating 
over  Rajas  and  Tamas  ;  and  Rajas,  over  Sattva  and 
Tamas  ;  so  Tamas,  over  Sattva  and  Rajas. 

When  Sattva  increases,  predominating  over  both  Rajas 
and  Tamas,  then,  asserting  itself,  Sattva  produces  its  own 
effect,  knowledge  and  happiness.  Similarly,  when  .the 
gu7ja  of  Rajas  increases,  predominating  over  both  Sattva 
and  Tamas,  then  it  gives  rise  to  its  own  effect,  viz.,  action 
such   as   husbandry.      Similarly,      when    the   gu«a   called 

*  The  quastion  is:  Uo  they  produce  cast,  do  they  act  in  mutual  concord  or 
their  effects  simultaneously,  or  at  difler-  discord  ?— The  answer  is  that  they  act  ac 
■.nt  limes,  each  in  its  turn?   In  the  former       diflcrent  times,  each  in  its  turn.— A. 


346'  THE   BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.    XIV. 

Tanias  increases,  predominating  over  both  Sattva  and 
Rajas,  then  it  produces  its  own  eftects,  the  covering  of 
wisdom,  etc. 

How   to    know    when    a   particular   guna   is 

What  is  the  characteristic  mark  by  which  to  know  when 
a  particular  gu«a  is  predominant  ? — The  answer  follows  : 

11.  When  at  every  gate  in  this  body  there 
shoots  up  wisdom-light,  then  it  may  be  known 
that  Sattva  is  predominant. 

/AH  the  senses  such  as  hearing  are  for  the  Self  the  gale- 
ways  of  perception.  When  at  all  these  gates  in  this  body 
,  there  arises  what  is  called  light,  illumination  (prakasa), — i.e. 
the  presence  of  anta/^-kara/^a,  of  buddhi, — then  we  have 
wliat  is  called  knowledge  (j,'/ana).  When  the  light  of  know- 
ledge thus  springs  up,  thi.i,  by  that  mark  of  knowledge,  it 
may  be  known  that  Sattva  is  predominant. 

The  characteristic  marks  of  predominant  Rajas  are  these  : 

12.  Greed,  activity,  the  undertaking  of  works, 
unrest,  desire, — these  arise  when  Rajas  is  predomi- 
nant, O  lord  of  the  Bharatas. 

Greed  :  a  desire  to  appropriate  the  property  of  another. 
Activity  :  action  in  general.  Unrest  :  giving  vent  to  joy, 
attachment  &c.  Desire  :  thirst  after  all  things  in  general. 
These  are  the  characteristic  marks  seen  when  Rajas  is 

13.  Darkness,  heedlessness,  inertness,  and  error, 
— these  arise  when  Tamas  is  predominant,  O 
descendant  of  Kuru. 

10-161  THE    THUrCE    r.UNAS.  347 

Darkness  :  absence  of  discrimination.  Inertness  :  Extreme 
inactivity,  the  result  of  darkness.  Heedlessness  and  error 
are  also  the  efTects  of  darkness. 

Life  after  death  as  governed  by  the  fi^unas. 

Whatever  result  is  obtained  after  death, — even  that  is 
caused  by  attachment  and  desire  and  is  all  due  to  the 
guwas.     This  is  taught  as  follows  : 

14.  If  the  embodied  one  meets  death  when 
Sattva  is  predominant,  then  he  attains  to  the  spot- 
less regions*  of  the  knowers  of  the  Highest. 

The  embodied  one :  the  Self.  TIic  Highest :  the  Mahat  and 
the  like  principles  (Tattvas). 

15.  Meeting  death  in  Rajas,  he  is  born  among 
those  attached  to  action  ;  and,  d}-ing  in  Tamas, 
he  is  born  in  the  wombs  of  the  irrational. 

If  he  meets  death  when  Rajas  is  predominant,  he  is  born 
among  men,  who  are  attached  to  action.  The  irrational: 
cattle  and  the  like. 

Here  follows  a  summary  of  what  has  been  taught  in  the 
precedmg  verses : 

16.  The  fruit  of  good  action,  they  say,  is  vSatt- 
vic  t  and  pure  ;  while  the  fruit  of  Rajas  is  pain, 
and  ignorance  is  the  fruit  of  Tamas. 

Good   action  :     S;ittvic   action.       They :    tlie    wise.     Rajas 

*    The     Brahma-loka    and     the     like,  t  '•  t-,  brought  about  by  Sattva;  devoid 

whore  Rajas  and  Tamas  never  predomi-  of    impurities,  snch   as   may   arise   from 

nate,    as   wo   arc   told  in  the   scriptures  Rajas  and  Tamas. — A. 
(agamas). — A. 


means  Rajasic  action,  as  this  section  treats  of  actions.  The 
fruit  of  Rajasic  actions  is  only  pain,  which  is  Rajasic  ;  for, 
the  effect  should  be  consonant  with  the  cause.  Tamas 
means  Tamasic  action,  a-dharma  or  sin. 

The  functions     of  the  gunas  summed  up. 

And  what  arises  from  the  gu«as  ? 

1 7.  From  Sattva  arises  wisdom,  and  greed 
from  Rajas ;  heedlessness  and  error  arise  from 
Tamas,  and  also  ignorance. 

From  Sattva  :  When  Sattva  asserts  itself. 


18.  Those  who  follow  Sattva  go  upwards  ;  the 
Rajasic  remain  in  the  middle  ;  and  the  Tamasic, 
who  follow  in  the  course  of  the  lowest  gu7;a,  go 

Those  who  follow  the  course  of  Sattva-gu;m  will  be  born 
in  the  region  of  the  Devas  or  the  like.  The  Rajasic  will 
dwell  among  men  ;  The  Tamasic — those  who  follow  the 
course  of  Tamas,  the  lowest  gu«a — will  go  down,  i.e.,  they 
will  be  born  in  the  wombs  of  cattle  and    the  like  creatures. 

Realisation  of  the  Self  beyond  the  gunas  leads 
to  immortality. 

It  has  been  briefly  taught  in  the  preceding  discourse  that 
the  cause  of  sawsara — of  the  Purusha's  birth  in  the  wombs 
of  high  and  low  creatures — is  the  attachment  which  the 
Purusha,  when  under  the  influence  of  the  illusory  know- 
ledo^e  that  bads  him  to  identify  himself  with  Praknti,  has 
for  objects  of  experience,  i.  c,  for  the  gu«as  which  assume 

l6-20.]  THE    THREE    CTNAS.  349 

the  forms  of  pleasure,  pain  and  delusion, — the  attachment 
which  makes  him  feel  "  I  am  happy,  miserable,  deluded." 
The  same  thing  has  been  described  at  length  here  (xiv.  5, 
et.  scq.)  :  the  nature  of  the  gU7ms,  their  functions,  how 
they  bind  by  their  functions,  the  destination  of  the  persons 
enslaved  by  the  functions  of  the  gunas  ;  all  about  the  cause 
of  bondage  rooted  in  illusion.  Now,  with  a  view  to  teach 
that  moksha  accrues  from  right  knowledge,  the  Lord  says  : 

ig.  When  the  seer  beholds  riot  an  agent  other 
than  the  gu;/as  and  knows  Him  who  is  higher 
than  the   gu?ias,  he  attains  to  My  being. 

When  a  man  is  enlightened  and  realises  that  there  is  no  ' 
agent  other  than  the  gu»as  which  transform  themselves 
into  the  bodies,  senses  and  sense-objects,  when  he  sees 
that  it  is  the  guj/as  that  in  all  their  modifications  constitute 
the  agent  in  all  actions  ;  when  he  sees  Him  who  is  distinct 
from  the  guwas,  who  is  the  Witness  of  the  gu«as  and  of 
their  functions,  then  he  attains  to  I\Iy  being  :  i.  e.,  seeing  ' 
that  All  is  Vasudeva,  he  becomes  Vasudeva.'**' 

Now  the  Lord  proceeds  to  teach  how  he  attains  to  it. 

20.  Having  crossed  beyond  these  three  guHas, 
which  are  the  source  of  the  body,  the  embodied 
one  is  freed  from  birth,  death,  decay  and  pain, 
and  attains  the  immortal. 

The   wise    man    crosses,   while    still   alive,     beyond    the 
three  gu/zas  which  constitute  the  upadhi  of  ]\Iaya  f    and  the 

*  Then  his  identity  with   Brahman  be-  rx»-    ■     u         -ji.- 

i ■ ~"  of  Nlaya,  the  upadhi,  and  are  the  source 

comes  manifest.-A.  ^^  ^,j  g,.;,  _j^ 

t  The  three  gunas  are   the  constituents 

350  THE    BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.  XIV. 

seed  out  of  which  the  body  is  evolved.  He  is  emancipated, 
while  still  alive,  from  birth,  death,  decay  and  pain,  and 
attains  to  immortality  :  in  this  way  he  attains  to  My  being. 

The  marks  of  a  liberated  soul. 

When  it  was  said  that  (the  wise  man)  crosses  beyond  the 
gu7?as  and  attains  to  immortality  while  still  alive,  Arjuna 
found  an  occasion  for  a  question  and  asked  : 

Arjuna  said  : 

21.  By  what  marks,  O  Lord,  is  he  known  who 
has  crossed  beyond  those  three  |2^u;?as  ?  What  is 
his  conduct,  and  how  does  he  pass  beyond  those 
three  gunas  ? 

Having  been  thus  asked  by  Arjuna  as  to  what  are  the 
characteristic  marks  of  one  who  has  crossed  beyond  the 
guwas  and  as  to  the  means  of  crossing  the  gu;;as,  the  Lord 
proceeds  to  answer  the  two  questions.  First  as  to  the 
question  '  by  what  marks  is  he  known  who  has  crossed 
beyond  the  gu«as?  '  listen  to  what  follows  : 

The  Blessed  Lord  said  : 

22.  Light  and  activity  and  delusion  present, 
O  Pan^ava,  he  hates  not,  nor  longs  for  them 

Light  is  the  effect  of  Sattva,  activity  of  Rajas,  and  delusion 
of  Tamas.  He  does  not  h:ite  these  when  present,  when 
they  clearly  present  themselves  as  objects  of  consciousnes. 
It  is  only  in  the  absence  of  right  knowledge  that  a  man 
hates  them  thus  :  '  I  have  now  a  Tamasic  idea  by  which  I  am 
deluded  ;  there  has  arisen  in  me  the  Rajasic  activity  which 
is  painful,  and  urged  on  by  this  Rajas  I  have  fallen  from 

20-25.]  THE    THREE    GUNAS.  331 

my  true  nature,  and  painful  is  this  fall  from  my  true  nature  ; 
and  the  Sattvic  gu»a,  which  is  luminous,  binds  me  by  way 
of  ascribing  discrimination  to  me  and  causing  attachment  to 
happiness.'  But  the  man  who  has  risen  above  the  gu;/as  does 
not  thus  hate  them  when  they  present  themselves  to  his 
consciousness.  Unlike  a  man  of  Sattva  (or  Rajas  or  Tamas) 
who  longs  for  the  Sattvic  (or  Rajasic  or  Tamasic)  states 
which  first  presented  themselves  to  his  consiousness  and 
then  disappeared,  he  who  has  risen  abovethe  gu»as  does 
not  long  after  things  which  have  disappeared. — This  is  a 
mark  which  others  cannot  perceive;  it  serves  as  a  mark 
for  the  individuajjiimself,  as  it  can  be  perceived  by  himself 
alone  ;  no  man  indeed  can  perceive  the  hatred  or  the  desire 
which  presents  itself  to  another  man's  consciousness. 

The  conduct  in  life  of  the  Liberated  one. 

Now    follows   the  answer   to  the   question,   what    is   his 
conduct  who  has  risen  above  the  gu«as  ? 


23.  He  who,  seated  as  a  neutral,  is  not  moved  ■ 
by  gu;Kis  ;  who,  thinking  that  gu//as  act,  is  firm 
and  moves  not ; 


24.  Her  to  whom  pain  and  pleasure  are  alike, 
who  dwells  in  the  Self,  to  whom  a  clod  of  earth 
and  stone  and  gold  are  alike,  to  whom  the  dear 
and  the  nndear  are  alike,  who  is  a  man  of  wisdom, 
to  whom  censure  and  praise  are  same  ; 

The   Self-knowing   sawnyasin,    like   a   neutral  man   who 
inclines  to  neither  party, ■'■'  treads  firmly  the  path  f  by  which 

*  This  is  to  illustrate  how   the   Self-        hlnisolf  as  the  doer  of  actions  and   does 
knower,  in  virtue  of  his  knowledge  of  the        not  eiigage  in  any  action. — A. 
immutability  of  the  Self,  ceases  to  regard  t  This  path  is  Self-knowledge.— A. 

352  THE    BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.  XIV. 

he  seeks  to  rise  above  the  guwas ;  he  does  not  swerve  from  the 
state  of  discrimination.  This  is  made  clearer  by  what  follows 
next :  the  gu;;as  transforming  themselves  into  the  body, 
senses  and  sense-objects,  act  and  react  upon  each  other. 
Thus  thinking,  he  remains  unshaken,  i.  e.,  he  remains  in 
his  own  true  nature. — There  is  another  reading  which  makes 
this  part  mean  "  thus  thinking,  he  acts.'''"  Who  dwells  in  the 
Self:  who  is  calm. 


25.     The   same   in    honour   and    disgrace,     the 

same  towards  friends  and  enemies,  abandoning  all 

undertakings, — he    is  said    to  have  crossed  beyond 

the  gu«as. 

The  same  :  unaffected.  Though  neutral  from  their  own 
standpoint,  some  appear  to  others  as  if  they  were  on  the  side 
of  friends  or  on  the  side  of  foes  ;  but  this  man  appears  to  be 
same  to  friends  and  foes.  He  renounces  all  actions,  pro- 
ductive of  visible  and  invisible  results,  except  those  which 
are  necessary  for  the  bare  maintenance  of  the  body. 

Devotion  to  the  Lord  leads  to  liberation. 

The  attributes  described  in  xiv.  23,  24,  25,  form  a  rule  of 
conduct  laid  down  for  the  sawmyasin  who  seeks  moksha,  so 
long  as  they  are  to  be  achieved  by  effort  ;  but  when  they 
are  firmly  ingrained  in  his  nature,  as  may  be  perceived  by 
himself,  they  form  marks  indicating  that  the  devotee  has 
risen  above  the  gu«as.  t 

*  This  action  is  the  continuation  ot  a  acquired  with  special  eflort  prior  to  the 

mere  semblance    of    action    which,    he  attainment    of  Self-knowledge     (vidya) ; 

knows,  does  not  pertain  to  him — A.  and     the    aspirant     for    Self-knowledge 

+  These    attributes,   such   as   indifter-  should  therefore  cultivate  these  virtues, 

ence  to   the  various  modifications  and  as  they  are  the   means  of  attaining  it. 

functions    of  ,the    gunas.    have     to    be  But,  on  the  rise  of  Self-knowledge,  when 

25-27.]  THE    THREE    GUNAS.  353 

The  Lord  proceeds  next  to  answer  the  question  '  How 
does  one  pass  beyond  these  three  gu«as  ?  ' 

26.  And  he  who  serves.  Me  with  unfaiUng 
Devotion  of  Love,  he,  crossing  beyond  those  three 
gunas,  is  fitted  for  becoming  Brahman. 

A  sa/«nyasin  (yati),  or  even  a  man  of  works  (karmin),  who 
serves  Me — the  Isvara,  Narayawa — dwelling  in  the  heart  of 
all  beings,  with  a  never-failing  Bhakti-Yoga,'''  in  devotion  to 
discriminative  knowledge, — this  Bhakti-Yoga  being  indeed 
the  result  of  the  Grace  and  Mercy  of  the  Lord, — he  crosses 
beyond  the  three  gu/ias  mentioned  above  and  is  fit  for 
becoming  Brahman,  i.  c,  for  moksha. 

Unity  of  Atman. 

How  can  it  be  sof  ? — Listen  : 

27.  For  I  am  the  abode  of  Brahman,  the  Im- 
mortal and  the  Immutable,  the  Eternal  Dharma, 
and  the  unfailing  Bliss. 

For,  in  Me,  in  the  Pratyagatman,  in  the  true  Inner  Self, 
abides  Brahrnan,  the  Supreme  Self  (Paramatman)  who  is 
immortal  and  immutable  ;  who  is  the  Eternal  Dharma,  i.  e., 
who  is  attainable  by  the  Dharma  of  Jilana-Yoga  or  wisdom- 
devotion  ;  who  is  the  unfailing  Bliss,  the  Supreme  Bliss, 
the  Bliss  Immortal.     Because    I, — the    Pratyagatman,  the 

the  aspirant  becomes  a  J ivanmukta   (one  Gjd  in  Bhakti-Yoga  moans  to  constantly 

who  is  liberated   while  still  living  in  the  contemplate     Him   by   completely   with- 

body,)  all  the  attributes  mentioned  here  drawing    the   niind    from    all     external 

form  part   and  parcel   of  his  nature   and  objects,  from  the  non-Self.     In   virtue  of 

serve  as  marks  of  liberation   which  he  "'-    °'^'"^   ^■^^"'    ^"^   '^  endued   with 

can  perceive  for  himself-A.  ""'"  '^"''^^■•cdge.    Thus  enlightened,  he 

*   Bhakti-Yoga  is  that  Supreme   Love 
(  Parama-preman  )  which   leads   to  com-  T   i.  c,  how  can  the  suge   be   himself 

becomes  Brahman  while  still  alive. — A. 

t   i.e., 
niunion   with  the   Supreme.      To   servo       Brahman  ? 


354  THE    BHAGAVAD-GiTA.  [DiS.  XlV- 

Immortal  Self, — am  the  abode  of  the  Supreme  Self,  there- 
fore by  Right  Knowledge  one  sees  that  the  Pratyagatman 
is  the  very  Supreme  Self.  It  is  this  truth  which  has  been 
declared  in  the  preceding  verse  in  the  words  "  he  is  fitted 
for  becoming  Brahman.  " 

The  meaning  of  the  passage  may  be  explained  as  follows: 
It  is  through  His  Isvara-5akti, — through  the  power  He 
has  to  manifest  Himself  as  Isvara  or  the  Lord  of  the  uni- 
verse,— that  Brahman  shews  His  grace  to  His  devotees, 
and  so  on.  I  am  only  that  power  or  S'akti  in  manifestation, 
and  am  therefore  Brahman  Himself;  for  .Sakti — power, 
potentiality,  energy — cannot  be  distinct  from  the  one  in 
whom  it  inheres. 

The  verse  may  also  be  explained  as  follows  : 

By  '  Brahman,'  is  here  meant  the  Conditioned  Brahman, 
who  eilone  can  be  spoken  of  by  any  such  word  as  '  Brah- 
man.'— I,  the  Unconditioned  and  the  Unutterable,  am  the 
abode  of  the  Conditioned  Brahman,  who  is  Immortal  and 
Indestructible.  I  am  also  the  abode  of  the  Eternal  Dharma 
of  Wisdom- Devotion,  and  the  abode  of  the  unfailing  Bliss 
born  of  that  Devotion. 



The  Tree  of  5amsara. 

Because  all  living  beings  are  dependent  on  Me  for  the 
fruits  of  ( their  )  actions,  and  the  wise  for  the  fruit  of  their 
knowledge,  therefore  those  who  serve  Me  with  Bhakti-Yoga 
(Devotion  of  Love)  cross  beyond  the  gu»as  by  My  Grace, 
through  the  attainment  of  knowledge,  and  attain  liberation 
(moksha)  ;  much  more  so  those  who  rightly  understand  the 
real  nature  of  the  Self.  \\'herefore  the  Lord  proceeds  in 
the  present  discourse  to  teach  the  real  nature  of  the  Self, 
though  unasked  by  Arjuna. 

First  he  describes  the  nature  of  sawsara  or  mundane 
existence  by  a  figurative  representation  as  a  tree*  in  order 
to  produce  vairagya  or  absence  of  all  attachment.  For,  he 
alone  who  is  free  from  all  attachment,  and  no  other  person, 
is  fit  for  attaining  the  knowledge  of  the  real  nature  of  the 

The  Blessed   Lord   said : 
1.     They  speak  of  the   indestructible    Asvattha 
having  its  root  above  and   branches  below,    whose 
leaves  are  the  metres.     He  who  knows    it    knows 
the  Vedas. 

As  Brahman  with  Maya  f  or  the  unmanifested  potentia- 
lity is  subtle  in  point  of  time,  as   He   is  the  Cause  |,  as  He 

*  Sai/isara  is  represented  as  a  tree  be-  :  This  is  to    shew    how    Brahman  is 

cause  it  can  l)e  cut  oft  lilce  a  tree.— A.  "subtle  in  point  of   time."     Brahman    is 

S  Brahman  who  is  Kii/astha  (immutable)  the  Cause  because  He  is  the  invariable 

cannot  by  Himself  be  Ibe  cause.— A,]  antecedent  of  all  eflects.— A, 

2c6  THE  BHAGAVAD-GlTA.  [DiS.    XV. 

is  eternal,  as  He  is  great,  He  is  spoken  of  as  the  One 
above.  The  One  above  is  the  root  of  this  Tree  of  Sa;»sara, 
which  is  therefore  said  to  have  its  root  above.  The  Sruti 

"  With  root  above  and  branches  below,  this  Asvattha 
is  eternal."     (Kai'ha-Up.  3-2-1). 
In  the  Pura//a  also  it  is  said  : 

"  The  root  from  which  the  Eternal  Tree  of  Brahman"-^= 

has  sprung  is  the  Avyakta,  the  Unmanifested.     It  has 

developed  by  the  strength  of  the  same  (Avyakta).     Its 

trunk  is  Buddhi,  the  sense-apertures  Its  hollows,  the 

great  elements  Its  boughs,  the  sense-objects  Its  leaves 

and  branches,  dharmaand  a-dharma  Its  fair  blossoms, 

pleasure  and  pain  Its  fruits  affording  livelihood   to  all 

creatures.     And  this  is  the   resort  f  of  Brahman  (the 

Highest  Self),  and  that  Highest  Self  is  (the  essence)  of 

that  Tree  of  Brahman.     Having  cut    asunder  and  split 

the  Tree    with    the    mighty  "sword  of  knowledge  j  and 

then  attained  to  the  Bliss  of  the  Self,  none  comes  back 

from  there  again." 

They  speak  of  the  illusory   sawsara  as  a  tree  rooted  above. 

The  Mahat,  the  Ahawkara  (  Egoism  ),  the  Tanmatras  (the 

Elemental  Essences),  etc.,  are  its  branches  as  it  were,  and 

these  extend    downwards ;  whence  the  Tree  is  said  to  have 

its  branches  below.    They  call  this  tree  '  Asvattha '  because 

*  i.  c,    the    Tree     occupied,    presided  Tree  of  sawsara  ;  for,  this  infinite   uni- 

over,  led,    governed,    guided,  by  Brah-  verse   has  its  basis  in   Brahman   and  in 

man.     It  is  said  to  ba  eternal   because  it  nothing  else.  It  is  indeed  Brahman  Him- 

cannot  be  cut  except  by  knowledge. — A.  sslf.that,    owing   to     avidya,    manifests 

t  It  is  in  this  Tree  of  si»jsara  that  Brah-  Himself  in  the  form  of  this  univcrse.-A. 

man  abides.— This  portion  is  interpreted  :  The  knowledge  "  I  am  Brahman."-A. 
to  mean  "  Brahman  is  the  resort  of  this 

1-2.]  THE    SUPREME    SPIRIT.  357 

it  will  not  abide  the  same  even  till  tomorrow,  because  it 
undergoes  destruction  every  moment.  The  illusion  (Maya) 
of  sa/«sara  having  existed  in  time  without  beginning,  they 
say  that  this  Tree  of  sawsara  is  eternal  ;  for,  it  rests, 
as  is  well  known,  on  a  continuous  series  of  births  which 
is  without  beginning  or  end  and  is  thus  eternal.  The 
Tree  of  Sawsara  is  further  qualified  thus :  The  metres 
( chhandases )  are  its  leaves  as  it  were ;  they  are  so 
called  because,  like  leaves,  the  metres  ( Vedas )  such  as 
Rik,  \'a.}us  a.nd  S-kman  protect  {^chhad'  to  cover)  the  Tree 
of  Sa;«sara.  Just  as  the  leaves  of  a  tree  serve  to  protect 
the  tree,  so  do  the  Vedas  '■"'  serve  to  protect  the  Tree  of 
Sa;;/sara,  as  treating  of  dharma  (  merit  )  and  a-dharma 
(demerit),  with  their  causes  and  fruits.  He  who  knows  the 
Tree  of  Sa;«sara  and  its  Root  as  described  above  is  a  knower 
of  the  Teaching-of  the  \'edas.  Indeed  nothing  else,  not 
even  an  iota,  remains  to  be  known  beyond  this  Tree  of 
Sawsara  and  its  Root.  He  who  knows  It  is  therefore  omni- 
scient.— This  is  to  extol  the  knowledge  of  the  Tree  of  Saw?- 
sara  and  its  Root. 

Now    follows   another   figurative   representation    of   the 
members  of  this  Tree  of  Sa;«sara. 

2.  Below  and  above  are  its  branches  spread, 
nourished  by  the  gu;?as,  sense-objects  its  buds ; 
and  below  in  the  world  of  man  stretch  forth  the 
roots  ending  in  action. 

From    man  down  to  unmoving  objects  below,  and  from 
him  up  to    the   abode  of   Brahma,  the   Creator  of  the  Uni- 

•  The  ritualistic  sections  of  the  Veda       of  the  soul ;    they  protect    sa>;isara  by 
treat  of  the  path  of  ascent  and  descent        concealing  its  defects. — A. 

358  THE    BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.  XV. 

verse,  whatever  regions  are  attained  as  the  suitable  reward 
of  knowledge  and  action, — each  varying  according  to  the 
character  of  knowledge  or  of  action, — they  are  the  spread- 
ing branches  as  it  were  of  that  Tree ;  they  are  nourished 
and  fattened  by  the  gunas  of  Sattva,  Rajas  and  Tamas, 
which  form  their  material  basis  (upadana).  The  sense- 
objects  such  as  sound  are  the  buds,  as  it  were,  sprouting 
from  the  branches  of  the  physical  and  other  bodies  which 
are  the  result  of  actions.  —  The  Highest  Root  of  the 
Tree  of  Sawsdra  has  been  mentioned  already,  and  now  will 
be  mentioned  the  secondary  roots  as  it  were  (of  the  uni- 
verse), as  leading  to  acts  of  dharma  or  a-dharma:  viz.,  the 
latent  impressions  (vasanas)  of  the  feelings  of  attachment 
and  aversion,  etc.,  which  were  caused  by  the  fruits  of  ac- 
tions. These  roots  are  spread  in  this  world  of  man 
below  "•'' — below  the  regions  of  Devas  and  the  like — and  give 
rise  to  acts  of  dharma  and  a-dharma,  these  acts  springing  up 
on  the  up-springing  of  those  vasanas.  Those  roots  are  spread 
especially  in  the  world  of  man.  It  is  while  here,  as  is  well- 
known  to  all,  that  men  concern  themselves  with  actionf. 

Cut  the  Tree  and  seek  the  Goal. 

And  as  to  the  Tree  of  Sawsara  just  described, 

3.  Its  form  is  not  perceived  as  such  here,  neither 
its  end  nor  its  origin  nor  its  existence.  Having 
cut  asunder  this  firm-rooted  Asvattha  with  the 
strong  sword  of  dispassion, 

4.  Then    That    Goal    should   be   sought     for, 

if    i.  c,    in    the   linga-sariras    of    men  T  That  is  to   say,  it  is  while  in  the  hu- 

these  feeUngs  of  attachment  and  aversion        man  body  especially,  that   one  is  ut  to 
are  constantly  present,— A.  engage  in  action.— A. 




whither  having  gone  none  return  again.  "  I  seek 
refuge  in  that  Primeval  Purusha  whence  streamed 
forth  the  Ancient  Current." 

As  such  :  as  described  above.  Its  form  as  such  is  perceiv- 
ed by  nobody  here  ;  for  it  is  very  much  Hke  a  dream,  a 
mirage,  a  gandharva-nagaya  (an  imaginary  city  in  the  sky) 
produced  by  a  juggler's  art ;  indeed,  it  appears  and  dis- 
appears." It  has  therefore  no  finality,  no  endt.  Neither 
has  it  a  beginning  :  nobody  knows  *  It  has  proceeded  from 
this  point.'  Its  existence — i.e.,  its  nature  between  the 
origin  and  the  end — is  perceived  by  nobody.  Dispassion  : 
freedom  from  attachment  to  children,  to  wealth,  and  to  the 
world.  Strong :  strengthened  by  a  resolute  bent  of  mind 
towards  the  Supreme  Self  and  sharpened  again  and  again 
on  the  whetstone  of  the  practice  of  true  discrimination. 
Cut  asundey  :  uprooted  the  Tree  of  sa7«sara  with  its  seed. 

Then  the  aspirant  should  seek  for  and  know  the  abode 
of  Vish;m  beyond  that  Tree.  Those  who  have  reached 
this  Goal  never  return  to  sawsara. — How  is  that  Goal  to 
be  sought  after  ? — It  is  sought  after  thus  :  "  I  seek  refuge 
in  Him,  the  Primeval  Purusha,  "  who  is  spoken  of  as  the 
Goal  ;  /.  c,  He  is  to  be  sought  for  by  way  of  seeking  refuge 

♦  One  may  suppose  that  the  Tree  of 
Saiiisara,  constantly  kept  up  as  it  is  by 
attachment  etc.,  has  no  beginning  and  is 
not  liable  Co  destruction  in  itself,  and  that 
it  is  not  even  possible  for  one  to  cut  it 
asunder.  To  remove  this  idea,  the  Lord 
says  that  the  Tree  of  Sawisara  described 
above,  though  not  perceived  through 
our  sense-organs,  should  be  inferred  to 
be  as  described  above  from  the  teachings 
of  the  sastra  (scripture).    So  it  is  possible 

for  one   to  cut  it   asunder  by  means   of 
knowledge. — .\. 

T  In  the  absence  of  knowledge,  sa;Hsara 
has  no  end,  inasmuch  as  illusion,  vasa- 
nas  (latent  tendencies  acquired  in  the 
past)  and  works  give  rise  to  one  another, 
by  action  and  reaction  Samsara  is  firm- 
rooted  ;  and  one  should  therefore  put  forth 
a  very  strong  effort  to  uproot  it,  by  re- 
sorting to  renunciation  through  practice 
of  indiflerence. — A. 

360  THE  bhagavad-gIta  [Dis.  XV. 

in  Him.— Who  is  this  Purusha  ? — It  is  that  Purusha  from 
whom  the  emanation  of  the  Tree  of  illusory  Saw^sara  streamed 
forth,  just  as  illusory  sights  (maya)  issue  from  out  of  a 

The  Path  to  the  Goal. 
What  sort  of  persons  reach  that  Goal  ? — Listen  : 

5.  Free  from  pride  and  delusion,  with  the  evil 
of  attachment  conquered,  ever  dwelling  in  the  Self, 
their  desires  having  completely  turned  away, 
liberated  from  the  pairs  of  opposites  known  as 
pleasure  and  pain,  the  undeluded  reach  that  Goal 

Dwelling,  etc.  :  constantly  engaged  in  the  contemplation 
of  the  nature  of  the  Supreme  Self.  Theiy  desires,  etc  :  they 
become  sa/;myasins,  all  desires  having  fled  without  leaving 
any  taint  behind.     That :  described  above. 

The  Goal  is  the  Lord's    Glorious  Being. 

That  Goal  is  again  specified  thus  : 

6.  That,  the  sun  illumines  not,  nor  the  moon, 
nor  fire  ;  That  is  My  Supreme  Abode,  to  which 
having  gone  none  return. 

The  sun,  though  possessed  of  the  power  of  illumining  all, 
does  not  illumine  that  Abode,  the  Abode  of  Light.  That 
Abode  to  which  having  gone  none  return,  and  which  the 
sun  and  other  (luminous  bodies)  do  not  illumine,  is  the 
Highest  Abode  of  Vish/m. 

Jiva  is  a  ray  of  the  Lord. 

It  has  been  said  'to  which  having  gone  none  return.'  But, 
as  everybody  knows,  going   ultimately   leads  to   returning, 

5-7.]  THE  SUPREME  SPIRIT.  361. 

union  to  disunion.  How  can  it  be  said  that  there  is  no 
returning  of  those  who  have  reached  that  Abode  ? — Listen  ; 
how  that  may  be  is  thus  explained  : 

7.  A  ray  of  Myself,  the  eternal  Jiva  in  the  world 
of  Jivas,  attracts  the  senses,  with  manas  the  sixth, 
abiding  in  Prakriti. 

'An  integral  portion  of  Myself — of  the  Supreme  Self,  of 
Naraya»a, — is  the  eternal  Jiva  (individual  soul)  in  sawsara, 
manifesting  himself  in  every  one  as  the  doer  and  enjoyer. 
He  is  like  the  sun  reflected  in  water  ;  the  reflected  sun  is 
but  a  portion  of  the  real  sun  ;  and  on  the  removal  of  water 
the  reflected  sun  returns  to  the  original  sun  and  remains  as 
that  very  sun. — Or,  it  is  like  the  akasa  (space)  in  the  jar, 
which  is  limited  by  the  upadhi  of  the  jar.  This  akasa  of 
the  jar  is  but  a  portion  of  the  infinite  akasa  and  becomes 
one  with  the  latter  on  the  destruction  of  the  jar  which  is 
the  cause  of  limitation  ;  then  it  returns  no  more.  /  Thus  the 
statement  "  to  which  having  gone  none  return  "  is  quite 

[Objection)  : —  How  can  there  be  a  portion  of  the  Supreme 
Self  who  has  no  parts  ?  If  He  has  parts.  He  would  be  liable 
to  destruction  on  the  separation  of  parts. 

[Anstiiey)  : —  Our  theory  is  not  open  to  this  objection  ;  for, 
it  is  only  a  portion  limited  by  the  upadhi  set  up  by  avidya  ; 
it  is  a  portion  a.s  it  were,  an  iniagmary  portion.  This  truth 
was  established  at  length  in  the  thirteenth  discourse.  '•' 


*  It  lijs  been  shewn  there  tliat,  as  a       Paramfttman,   that  he  is  identical  witji 
matter  of  fact,  Jiva  is  not  a  portion  of      the  Supreme  Self. — A. 



How  Jiva  dwells  in  the  body  and  departs  from  it. 

How  does  the  Jiva  or  individual  Soul,  who  is  only  an 
imaginary  portion  of  Myself,  live  in  the  world  ?  Or  how  does 
he  leave  it  ?"■'' — Listen  :  He  draws  round  himself  the  (five) 
senses,  such  as  hearing,  with  the  manas,  the  sixth  sense — 
those  six  senses  which  abide  in  the  Prakriti,  i.  c,  in  their 
respective  seats  such  as  the  orifice  of  the  ear. 

When  (  does  he  draw  them  round  himself)  ? 

8.  When  the  Lord  acquires  a  body,  and  when 
He  leaves  it,  He  takes  these  and  goes,  as  the  wind 
takes  scents  from  their  seats. 

When  the  Jiva,  the  lord  of  the  aggregate  of  the  body 
and  the  rest,  is  to  leave  the  body,  then  (he  draws  round 
himself  the  senses  and  the  manas).  When  he  leaves  a  former 
body  and  enters  another,  he  does  so,  taking  these — the 
(five)  senses  with  the  manas  the  sixth — with  him  as  the 
wind  takes  with  it  the  scents  of  flowers. 

What  then  are  those  (senses)  ? 

g.  The  ear,  the  eye  and  the  touch,  the  taste 
and  the  smell,  using  these  and  the  manas,  he 
enjoys  the  sense-objects. 

Using  the  manas  along  with  each  sense  separately,  the 
Dweller  in  the  body  enjoys  the  sense-objects  such  as  sound. 

The  Self  is  visible  only  to  the  eye  of  knowledge. 

10.  Him  who  departs,  stays  and  enjoys,  who 
is  conjoined  with  guwas,  the  deluded  perceive  not  ; 
they  see,  who  possess  the  eye  of  knowledge. 

*  i.e.,  if  Jiva' is  the  Supreme   Self,  how       as  departing  from  this  world  ?^A. 
is  it  that  he  is  spoken  of  as  a  sai/'sarin,  or 




♦  Though  A  tman  is  nearest  ar\d  (faQVcfore  +  The  wisdom-eye  here  spoken  of  refers 

most  easily  perceivable,  still,  all   do   not  to  the  scriptures  (sastra), Raided  by  reflec- 

scc   Him,    because    of    their    complete  tion  and  reason   (nyayanugcihita),  which 

subservience  (o  sense-objects.— A,  form  a  means  to  knowledge.— A, 

/Him  who  thus  dwells  In  the  body,  who  leaves  the  body  I 
once  acquired,  who  stays  in  the  body,  who  perceives  sound 
and  other  objects,  who  is  always  in  association  with  gu«as, 
/.  e.,  whom  all  dispositions  of  mind — such  as  pleasure,  pain 
delusion — invariably  accompany,  the  deluded  do  not 
recognise.  They  do  not  see  Him,  though  in  this  way  He 
comes  quite  within  the  range  of  their  vision,  because  they  are 
deluded  in  various  ways,  their  minds  being  forcibly  attracted 
by  the  enjoyment  of  objects  seen  and  unseen.  ;>'"  Ah  1  such  is 
human  perversity. — Thus  does  the  Lord  regret. — But  those 
whose  wisdom-eye  I  has  been  opened  by  an  authoritative 
source  of  knowledge,  i.e.,  who  possess  the  power  of  dis- 
crimination, do  recognise  Him. 

No  self-knowledge  without  Yoga. 

A  few,  however, 

II.  Those  who  strive,  endued  with  Yoga, 
perceive  Him  dwelling  in  the  self;  though  striving, 
those  of  unrefined  self,  devoid  of  wisdom,  perceive 
Him  not. 

Those  who  strive,  well  balanced  in  their  mind,  behold 
Him,  the  Self,  dwelling  in  their  own  mind  (buddhi) :  they 
recognise  Him,  "  This  I  am.  "  But  though  striving  to 
know  Him  by  means  of  proper  authorities  such  as  the 
scriptures  (sastra),  men  of  unrefined  self — whose  self  (mind) 
has  not  been  regenerated  by  austerity  (tapas)  and  subju- 
gation of  the  senses,  who  have   not   abandoned    their   evil 



364  THE    BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.  XV. 

ways,  whose  pride   has   not   been  subdued, — behold   Him 

Immanence  of  the  Lord,  (i)  as    the  all-illumining 
Light  of  Consciousness. 

That  Goal  (the  Supreme  Self)  which  even  such  luminaries 
as  fire  and  sun,  the  illuminators  of  all,  do  not  illumine ; 
which  having  reached,  the  seekers  of  moksha  never  return 
towards  sa7;/sara  ;  of  which  the  Jivas  (individual  souls)  are 
only  parts  manifesting  themselves  in  conformity  to  the 
upadhis,  as  the  akasa  (space)  in  a  jar  is  but  a  portion  of 
the  all-pervading  akasa, — with  a  view  to  show  that  that 
Goal  is  the  essence  of  all  and  the  real  basis  {i.  e.,  object)  of 
all  experience,  the  Lord  proceeds  in  the  next  four  verses  to 
give  a  brief  summary  of  His  manifestations. 

12.  That  light  which  residing  in  the  sun  illu- 
mines the  whole  world,  that  which  is  in  the  moon 
and  in  the  fire,  that  light  do  thou  know  to  be 

Light :  splendour.  Mine  :  Vish;Ri's. 

Or,  '  light '  may  be  understood  to  mean  the  light  of 
consciousness  (chaitanya). 

{Objection)  : —  The  light  of  consciousness  exists  in  all 
alike,  in  the  moving  and  unmoving  objects :  then  why  this 
qualification  of  light  as  '  residing  in  the  sun,  '  etc.  ? 

[Answer)  : —  This  objection  does  not  apply  here ;  for,    the 

*  A  mere   siudy  of  scriptures,  aided  by  realised  the  distinction  between  the  per- 

reason  and  reflection,  will  not  be  of  much  manent   and   the   impermanent,  the  real 

avail  to  those  whose  minds    are     still  and  the  unreal. — A, 
impure  and  who  therefore  have  not  yet 

11-13]  THE    SUPREME    SPIRIT.  365 

qualification  may  be  explained  on  the  ground  that  the 
better  manifestation  (of  consciousness  in  the  sun,  etc.)  is 
due  to  a  higher  proportion  of  Sattva.  In  the  sun  and  other 
bodies  (mentioned  here)  the  Sattva  is  very  brilliant  and 
luminous  ;  wherefore  it  is  in  them  that  the  light  of  conscious- 
ness is  better  manifested.  Hence  the  qualification  ;  not 
that  the  light  is  a  specific  attribute  of  those  bodies  only. 
To  illustrate  it  by  an  example  from  ordinary  experience : 
A  man's  face  is  not  reflected  in  a  wall,  in  a  piece  of  wood  or 
the  like  ;  but  the  same  face  is  reflected  in  a  mirror  in  a 
greater  or  less  degree  of  clearness,  according  as  the  mirror 
is  more  or  less  transparent. 

(2)  As  the  all-sustaining  Life. 


13.  Penetrating  the  earth  I  support  all  beings 
by  (My)  Energy ;  and  having  become  the  watery 
moon  I  nourish  all  herbs. 

Energy  (ojas) :  the  energy  of  the  Isvara.  It  is  devoid  of 
desires  and  passions.  It  permeates  the  earth  for  support- 
ing the  world.  Held  by  that  energy,  the  massive  earth 
does  not  fall  down  and  is  not  shattered  to  pieces.  So  it  is 
chanted   as  follows  : — 

"  Whereby  the  vast  heaven  and  the  earth  are  firmly 
held.  "  "  He  held  the  earth  firm."— (Taittiriya-Saw/hita, 


Thus  do  I,  penetrating  the  Earth,  support  the  moving  and 
unmoving  objects.  Moreover,  becoming  the  savoury  moon, 
I  nourish  all  the  herbs  germinating  on  the  Earth,  such  as 
rice  and  wheat,  and  make  them  savoury.  Soma  (the  moon) 
is  the  repository  of  all  savours.     It  is  indeed   the   savoury 

366  THE  bhagavad-gIta.  [Dis.  XV, 

moon  that  nourishes  all  herbs  by  infusing  savours  into 

(3)  As  the  Digestive  Fire  in  all  living:  organisms. 


14.  Abiding  in  the  body  of  living  beings  as 
Vaisvanara,  associated  *  with  Prana  and  Apana, 
I  digest  the  four-fold  food. 

Vaisvciiiara  :  the  hve  abiding  in  the  stomach,  as  said  in 
the  sruti : 

"  This  fire  is  Vaisvanara,  which  is  within  man  and 
by  which  this  food  is  digested.  " — (Bri.   Up.  5-9-1-) 

Fourfold  food  :  the  food  which  has  to  be  eaten  by  mastica- 
tion, that  which  has  to  be  sucked  out,  the  food  which  has 
to  be  eaten  by  devouring,  and  that  which  is  eaten  by 

He  who  regards  that  the  eater  is  the  Vaisvanara  Fire, 
that  the  food  eaten  by  Fire  is  the  Soma  (moon),  and  that 
thus  the^^two  together  form  Fire-Soma  (Agni-shomau),  is 
free  from  all  taint  of  impurity  in  food,  f 

(4)  As  the  Self  in  the  hearts  of  all. 


15.  And  I  am  seated  in  the  hearts  of  all  :  from 
Me  are  memory,  knowledge,  as  well  as  their  loss  ; 
it  is  I  who  r/.n  to  be  known  by  all  the  Vedas,  I  am 

♦   Kindled  by  Prana. — A.  form  of  eater  and  eaten  is  made   up  of 

+  Incidentally  the  Lord  teaches  here  that  Agni   and   Soma   is  untouched     by  evil 

he  who  at  the  time  of  eating  contemplates  arising  from  bad  food. — A. 
that  the  whole  universe  which  is  in  the 

13-16.]  .  THE   SUPREME    SPIRIT.  367 

indeed   the   author   of  the  Vedanta  as  well  as  the 
knower  of  the  Vedas. 

I  dwell  in  the  hearts  (buddhi)  of  all  sentient  beings  as 
their  Self.'''  Wherefore  from  Me  f ,  the  Self  of  all  sentient 
beings,  are  memory,  knowledge,  I  as  well  as  their  loss.  Just 
as  knowledge  and  memory  occur  in  righteous  persons  as  a 
result  of  their  good  deeds  (pu7;yakarma«i),  so,  as  a  result  of 
their  sins,  loss  of  memory  and  knowledge  occurs  in  the  sinful. 
I,  the  Supreme  Self,  am  to  be  known  in  all  the  Vedas.  It  is  1 
who  cause  the  Teaching  of  the  Vedanta  (Upanishads)  to  be 
handed  down  in  regular  succession,  and  It  is  I  who  know 
the  Vedic  Teaching. 

The  Lord  beyond  the  perishable  and  the 
imperishable    universe. 

From  XV.  12,  et  seq  a.  summary  has  been  given  of  the 
glories  of  Naraya//a,  the  Blessed  Lord,  as  manifested  through 
superior  upadhis.j  Now,  in  the  following  verses,  the  Lord 
proceeds  to  determine  the  true  nature  of  the  same  (Blessed 
Lord),  who  is  pure  and  unlimited,  being  quite  distinct  from 
all  perishable  (kshara)  and  imperishable  (akshara)  upadhis. 
First,  then,  the  Lord  arranges  all  that  is  taught  in  the 
preceding  as  well  as  in  the  succeeding  discourses  in  three 
groups  and  says : 

16.     There  are  these  two  beings    in    the   world. 

*  I  am  the  witness  of  all  that  is  good  ;  Memory  of  what  was  experienced  in 

and  evil  in  their  hearts.— A.  the  past  births,  and  knowledge  of  things 

t  Who  am  the  wire-puller  (Siitra-dhar.i)  transcending  the  ordinary  limits  of  space, 

standing    behind  the    machine    of    the  time,  and  visible  nature,— A. 

universe,    who    presides    over    all    ac-  g  Such  as  the  sun.— A. 
t  ions.— A. 

368  THE    BHAGAVAD-GlTA.  [DiS.  XV. 

the  perishable  and  the  imperishable  :  the  perishable 
comprises  all  creatures  ;  the  immutable  is  called 
the  imperishable. 

In  sawisara,  there  are  two  categories,  we  see,  arranged 
in  two  separate  groups  of  beings,  spoken  of  as  '  purushas  '  '•' 
The  one  group  consists  of  the  perishable  (kshara) ;  and  the 
other  is  the  imperishable  (akshara) — the  contrary  of  the 
first — viz.,  the  Maya-5akti,  the  Illusion-Power  of  the  Lord, 
the  germ  from  which  the  perishable  being  takes  its  birth, 
the  seat  of  all  the  latent  impressions  (sawskaras)  of  desires, 
actions,  etc.,  pertaining  to  the  numerous  mortal  creatures. 
As  to  what  the  two  beings  (Purushas)  comprise,  the  Lord 
Himself  says :  The  perishable  comprises  the  whole  uni- 
verse of  changing  forms ;  the  imperishable  is  what  is 
known  as  immutable  (  ku/astha  ) — that  which  remains 
immovable  like  a  heap.  Or,  '  kuz^a  '  means  illusion,  and 
'  kufastha '  means  that  which  manifests  itself  in  various 
forms  of  illusion  and  deception.  As  the  seed  of  sawsara  is 
endless  f,   it  is  said  to  be  imperishable. 

Distinct  from  these  two, — the  perishable  and  the  imperish- 
able,— and  untainted  by  the  evils  of  the  two  upadhis  of  the 
perishable  and  imperishable,  eternal,  pure,  intelligent  and 
free  by  nature  is  the  Highest  Spirit. 

17.  But  distinct  is  the  Highest  Spirit  spoken 
of  as  the  Supreme  Self,  the  indestructible  Lord 
who  penetrates  and  sustains  the  three  worlds. 

*  They  are  spoken  of  as  'purushas'         f  In  the  absence  of  Brahma-j)!ana  ihe 
because   they     are   the     upadhis   of  the       seed  does  not  perish— (A). 
Purusha,  the  one  Spirit.    (A) 

l6-l8.]  THE    SUPREME    SPIRIT.  369 

But/the  Highest  Spirit  is  quite  distinct  from  the  two. 
He  is  the  Supreme  Self.  He  is  Supreme  as  compared  with 
the  other  selves  set  up  by  avidya,  such  as  the  physical 
body  ;  and  He  is  the  Self  as  constituting  the  unfailing  Inner 
Consciousness  of  all  beings.  He  is  therefore  known  as  the 
Supreme  Self  in  the  Vedantas  (Upanishads).  /  The  Highest 
Spirit  is  further  specified  thus  :  He  is  the  Eternal  Omni- 
scient Lord,  Narayana,  who  penetrates  by  His  Vital  Energy 
(Bala-Sakti)  ■'■'  the  three  worlds — the  Earth  (  Bhu/i ),  the 
Mid-region  (BhuvaA)  and  Heaven  (  Suva/; ) — and  supports 
them  by  His  mere  existence  in  them. 

'Purushottama,' the  Highest  Spirit,  is  a  well-known  name 
of  the  Lord  described  above.  Now  the  Lord,  while  show- 
ing, by  a  declaration  of  the  etymology  of  the  word,  that 
the  name  is  significant,  shows  what  He  really  is,  "  I  am  the 
unsurpassed  Lord." 

18.  Because  I  transcend  the  perishable  and  am 
even  higher  than  the  imperishable,  therefore  am  I 
known  in  the  world  and  in  the  Veda  as  'Purushot- 
tama,' the  Highest  Spirit. 

Because  I  transcend  the  perishable,  the  Tree  of  illusory 
sawsara  called  Asvattha,  because  I  am  higher  than  even 
the  imperishable  which  constitutes  the  seed  of  that  Tree  of 
the  illusory  sawsara,  because  I  am  thus  superior  to  the 
perishable  and  the  imperishable,  I  am  known  in  the  world 
and  in  the  Veda  as  the  Highest  Spirit :  devotees  know  Me 
as  such,  and  the  poets,  too,  incorporate  this  name  in  their 
poems  and  other  works. 

•   '  Bala'  me.-ins  enersy.  the  energy  of       and   '  sakti '    means     Miya    which    lies 
Consciousness  or  seutiency  (chaitanya),       therein.— A. 


370  THE   BMAGAVAD-GITA.  [DlS.  XV. 

The  Glory  of  Self-knowledge. 

Now  the  Lord  speaks  of  the  fruit  accruing  to  him  who 
realises  the  Self  as  described  above  : 

ig.  He  who,  undeluded,*  thus  knows  Me,  the 
Highest  Spirit,  he,  knowing  all,  worships  Me  with 
his  whole  being,  O  Bharata. 

Me :  the  Lord  as  above  specified.  Knows :  *  that  I  am 
He.'  With  his  whole  being  :  with  his  whole  thought  devoted 
exclusively  to  the  Self  of  all. 

A  knowledge  of  the  true  nature  of  the  Lord  having  been 
imparted  in  this  discourse, — a  knowledge  which  leads  to 
moksha, — it  is  now  extolled  as  follows : 

20.  Thus,  this  most  Secret  Science  has  been 
taught  by  Me,  O  sinless  one  ;  on  knowing  this, 
(  a  man  )  becomes  wise,  O  Bharata  and  all  his 
duties  are  accomplished. 

Though  the  whole  of  the  Gita  is  called  Science  (5astra), 
yet  from  the  context  it  appears  that  the  fifteenth  discourse 
alone  is  here  spoken  of  as  the  Science,  for  the  purpose  of 
extolling  it.  In  fact  the  whole  teaching  of  the  Gita-Sastra 
has  been  summed  up  in  this  discourse.  Not  the  teaching 
of  the  Gita-Sastra  only,  but  the  whole  teaching  of  the  Veda 
is  here  embodied ;  and  it  has  been  said  that  '  he  who  knows 
it  (the  Asvattha)  knows  the  Veda  (xii.  i),  and  that  '  It  is  I 
who  am  to  be  known  by  all  the  Vedas'  ( xv.  15).  On 
knowing  this  science  as  taught  above  —  but  not  other- 
wise— a  man  becomes  wise.  He  has  accomplished  all  duties. 

•k    Never    looking  upon   the    physical       himself. — A. 
body,  etc.,  as  himself  or  as  belonging  to 

I  g-20.]  THE    SUPREME  SPIRIT  371 

Whatever  duty  a  brahmawa  of  superior  birth  has  to  do,  all 
that  duty  has  been  done  when  the  real  truth  about  the 
Lord  is  known  ;  that  is  to  say,  by  no  other  means  can  a 
man's  duty  have  been  accomplished.  And  it  has  been  said 
"  All  actions,  without  exception,  O  son  of  P/'itha  are 
comprehended  in  wisdom"  ( iv.  33 ).  And  here  is  the 
saying  of  Manu : 

"  This  is  the  fulfilment  of  the  birth,  especially  for  a 
brihina;/a  ;  for,  by  attaming  to  this  does  the  twice-born 
become  the  accomplisher  of  all  duties,  and  not  other- 
-wise"     (xii.  93). 

Since  you  have  heard    from    Me   this   truth    about   the 
Supreme  Being,  you  are  a  happy  man,  O  Bharata. 


Spiritual  disposition. 

In  the  ninth  discourse  were  indicated  three  kinds  of 
nature  (prakriti)  belongin*:^  to  sentient  beings,  namely,  the 
nature  of  the  Gods,  that  of  the  Asuras,  and  that  of  the 
Rakshasas.  The  sixteenth  discourse  proceeds  to  describe 
them  at  length.  Of  these  the  nature  of  the  Gods  (Daivi 
Praknti)  leads  to  liberation  from  samskra,  and  those  of  the 
Asuras  and  the  Rakshasas  lead  to  bondage.  Accordingly 
the  nature  of  the  Gods  will  be  described  with  a  view]  to  its 
acceptance,  and  the  other  two  with  a  view  to  their  rejection.* 

The  Blessed  Lord  said  : 

I.  Fearlessnesst,  purity  of  heart,  steadfastness 
in  knowledge  and  Yoga  ;  alms-giving,  self-restraint 
and  worship,  study  of  one's  own  (scriptures), 
austerity,  uprightness  ; 

Purity  of  heart :  purity  oi  the  antaA-kara7/a  (sattva),  i.e., 
abandonment  of  deception,  dissimulation,  falsehood  and 
the  like,  in  all  transactions ;  that  is  to  say,  transacting 
business  in  perfect  honesty.  Knowledge  consists  in  under- 
standing the  nature  of  things,  such  as  the   Self,  as   taught 

*  These  are  respectively  the   Sattvic,       in   actions  and   spoken   of  in   XV.   2  as 
Rajasic,  and  Tamasic  natures,  manifested       the  secondary  roots  of  sa>;isara.— A. 

in  men  according  to  the  karma  of  their 
previous  births.  They  are  the  tenden- 
cies   (vasanas)  Lsbowing  themselves  out 

t  Devout  observance  of  scriptural  pre- 
cepts without  doubting. — A, 


in  the  Scripture  (sastra)  and  by  the  Teacher  (Acharya). 
Yoga  consists  in  making  what  has  been  thus  learnt  an  object 
of  one's  own  direct  perception,  by  concentrat^ion  (one- 
pointedness)  through  the  subjugation  of  the  senses.  This — 
viz.,  fearlessness,  purity  of  heart,  and  steadfastness  in 
knowledge  and  Yoga — forms  the  Daivi  or  Sattvic  nature 
by  pre-eminence.  Whatever  attributes  among  those  (men- 
tioned in  xvi.  I — 3)  can  possibly  pertain  to  the  disciples 
treading  a  particular  path,  *  they  constitute  the  Sattvic 
nature  of  the  disciples  in  that  particular  path.  Alms-giving  \ 
distributing  food  and  the  like  as  far  as  lies  in  one's  power. 
Self-control :  the  subjugation  of  external  senses  ;  that  of  the 
antaA-kara;;a  (internal  sense,  manas)  being  mentioned  in 
the  next  verse.  Worship  :  including  the  fire-worship  (agni- 
hotra)  and  the  like  enjoined  in  the  sruti,  as  also  the  worship 
of  the  Gods  (Deva-yajna)  and  the  like  enjoined  in  the  smriti. 
Study,  etc  :  study  of  the  i?ig-Veda  and  the  like  with  a  view 
to  some  unseen  results  (adrishfa).  Austerity  :  bodily  mortifi- 
cation and  other  penances,  which  will  be  mentioned  in  the 
sequel.     Uprightness  :  this  should  be  a  constant  attitude. 


2.  Harmlessness,  truth,  absence  of  anger, 
renunciation,  serenity,  absence  of  calumny,  com- 
passion to  creatures,  uncovetousness,  gentleness, 
modesty,  absence  of  fickleness; 

Harmlessness  :  abstaining  from  injury  to  sentient  beings. 
Truth  :  speaking  of  things  as  they  are,  without  giving  utter- 
ance to  what    is    unpleasant    or  what    is   false.     Absence  of 

*   Karma- Yoga  or  Jnana-Yoga.      The  and  Karma-Yogins.    The   latter,    though 

first  three  of  the  attributes  mentioned  wanting  in  the  first  three  attributes,   are 

here  can  be  found  in  Jnnna-Yogins  only,  nevertheless  classed  among  S.ittvic  men, 
the  rest  being  common  to  Jxtina-Yogins 

374  THE    BHAGAVAD-GtTA  [DiS.  XVI. 

anger :  suppression  of  anger  arising  when  beaten  or  reviled. 
Renunciation:  'tyaga'  (lit.,  giving  up)  is  thus  explained,  since 
'alms-giving'  has  already  been  mentioned.  Serenity  :  tran- 
quillity of  mind  (anta/!-kara?m).  Compassion  to  creatures  :  to 
those  in  suffering.  Uncovetousness :  unaflfectedness  of  the 
senses  when  in  contact  with  their  objects.  Absence  of  fickle- 
ness :  not  to  speak  or  move  hands  and  legs  in  vain. 


3.  Energy,  forgiveness,  fortitude,  purity,  absence 
of  hatred,  absence  of  pride;  these  belong  to  one 
born  for  a  divine  lot,  O  Bharata. 

*  Tejas '  means  energy,  not  brightness  of  the  skin. 
Forgiveness  :  unaflfectedness  when  beaten  or  reviled.  We  have 
explaixTcd  '  absence  of  anger  '  to  mean  suppression  of  anger 
when  it  arises.  Thus  '  forgiveness '  and  'absence  of  anger' 
should  be  distinguished  from  each  other.  Fortitude  :  that 
state  of  mind  (anta/j-kara»a)  which  removes  the  exhaustion 
of  the  body  and  senses  when  they  droop  down,  and  upheld 
by  which  the  body  and  senses  no  longer  get  dejected. 
Purity  :  of  the  two  sorts,  the  external  and  the  internal ;  the 
one  being  accomplished  by  means  of  earths  and  water,  the 
other  consisting  in  the  taintlessness  of  mind  and  heart, 
in  freedom  from  impurities  such  as  deception  and  passion. 
Absence  of  hatred  :  absence  of  a  desire  to  injure  others.  Pride : 
consists  in  supposing  oneself  worthy  of  a  high  honor.  These 
— from  'fearlessness'  to  '  absence  of  pride ' — are  found  in  one 
who  is  born  for  a  divine  lot,  i.e.,  who  is  worthy  of  the  powers 
of  the  Devas,  i.e.,  for  whom  there  is  happiness  in  store. 

Materialistic  disposition. 

Here  follows  a  description  of  the  demoniac  (asuric) 
nature  : 


4.  Ostentation,  arrogance  and  self-conceit, 
anger  as  also  insolence,  and  ignorance,  belong  to 
one  who  is  born,  O  Partha,  for  a  demoniac  lot. 

Ostentation:  pretending  to  be  righteous.  Arrogance: 
pride  of  learning,  wealth,  high  connection,  etc.  Insolence  : 
in  speech  ;  e.  g.  to  speak  of  the  blind  as  having  eyes,  of  the 
ugly  as  handsome,  of  a  man  of  low  birth  as  one  of  high 
birth,  and  so  on.  Ignorance  :  misconception  of  duties  and 
the  like. 

Results  of  the  two  dispositions. 

The  effects  of  the  two  natures  are  spoken  of  as  follows  : 

5.  The  divine  nature  is  deemed  for  liberation, 
the  demoniac  for  bondage.  Grieve  not,  O  Paw^ava; 
thou  art  born  for  a  divine  lot. 

Liberation  :  from  the  bondage  of  sawsara.  The  demoniac 
(asuric)  nature  leads  to  an  unfailing  bondage,  and  so  does 
the  fiendish  (Rakshasic)  nature. — Now,  seeing  some  such 
question  as  "  Am  I  possessed  of  demoniac  nature,  or  of 
divine  nature  ?  "  occur  in  the  mind  of  Arjuna  on  hearing 
what  has  been  said,  the  Lord  again  says  :  grieve  not ;  thou 
art  born  for  a  divine  lot;  i.e.,  thou  hast  happiness  in 

The  materialists. 

6.  There  are  two  creations  of  beings  in  this 
world,  the  divine  and  the  demoniac.  The  divine 
has  been  described  at  length  ;  hear  from  Me,  O 
Partha,  of  the  demoniac. 

Creation:  means  what  is  created.  The  men  who  are 
created   with  the  two  kinds  of  nature,  the  divine  and  the 


demoniac,  are  here  spoken  of  as  the   '  two  creations.'     It  is 
said  in  the  sruti, 

'  Verily  there  are  two  classes  of  Prajapati's  creatures, 
Devas  and  Asuras.'     (Bn.  Up.  x-3-i)- 

Every  being  in  this  world  is  included  in  the  one  or  the 
other  of  the  two  creations,  the  divine  and  the  demoniac. 
The  purpose  of  repeating  again  what  has  been  already  said 
is  stated  thus: — The  divine  has  been  declared  at  length, 
beginning  with  xvi.  i,  but  not  the  demoniac;  therefore,  do 
thou  hear  and  understand  the  demoniac  nature  to  be 
described  at  length  by  Me  in  the  sequel  here  in  order  that 
you  may  avoid  it. 

The  demoniac  nature  will  be  described, — to  the  very  end 
of  the  discourse  — as  an  attribute  of  some  living  men  ;  for, 
only  when  it  is  recognised  in  the  visible,  its  avoidance 
is  possible. 

7.  Neither  action  nor  inaction  do  the  demoniac 
men  know  ;  neither  purity  nor  good  conduct  nor 
truth  is  found  in  them. 

They  do  not  know  what  acts  they  should  perform  to 
achieve  the  end  of  man,  nor  from  what  acts  they  should 
abstain  to  avert  evil.  Not  only  do  they  not  know  '  action 
and  inaction,'  there  is  neither  purity  nor  good  conduct  nor 
truth  in  them.  Indeed,  the  demons  are  persons  who  are 
wanting  in  purity  and  good  conduct,  who  are  hypocrites 
and  liars 

The  materialist's  view  of  the  world. 


8.  They  say,  "the  universe  is  unreal,  without 
a  basis,  without  a  Lord,  born    of  mutual    union, 

■     brought  about  by  lust ;  what  else  ? " 


These  demons  of  men  say,  "  As  \vc  are  unreal,  so  this 
whole  universe  is  unreal.  Neither  are  dharinaand  a-dharma 
its  basis.  There  exists  no  Isvara  ruling  the  universe  accord- 
ing to  dharma  and  a-dharma.  Universe  is,  therefore,  they 
say,  without  a  Lord.  The  whole  universe  is,  moreover, 
caused  by  the  mutual  union  of  man  and  woman  under  the 
impulse  of  lust.  It  is  brought  about  only  by  lust.  What 
else  can  be  the  cause  of  the  universe  ?  There  is  no  other 
cause  whatever,  no  invisible  cause,  of  the  universe,  no  such 
thing  as  karma."  This  is  the  view  of  the  materialists 
(Lokayatikas),  that  sexual  passion  is  the  sole  cause  of  all 
living  creatures. 

Men's  life  as  guided  by  materialism. 

g.     Holding   this   view,     these    ruined  souls  of 
small  intellect,  of  fierce  deeds,  rise  as  th^  enomies 
of  the  world  ■'^     for  its  destruction. 

Ruined  souls  :  having  lost  all  chances  of  goinj  to  the 
higher  worlds.  Their  intellect  is  small,  as  it  concerns 
itself  only  with  sense-objects.  Of  ficfcc  deeds  :  intent  on 
injuring  others. 

10.  Filled  with  insatiable  desires,  full  of  hypo- 
crisy, pride  and  arrogance,  holding  unwholesome 
views  through  eielusion,  they  work  with  unholy 
resolve  ; 

11.  Beset  with  immense  cares  ending  only 
with  death,  sensual  enjoyment  tlieir  highest  aim, 
assured  that  that  is  all  t  ; 

*  World  :  Sentient  beings — A.  thins  is  th^  happiness  of  ano. her    world, 

t  Sensual  enjoyment  is   the  supreme      — A 
source  of  happiness  :  there  is  no  such 


37^  THE  BHAGAVAD-GiTA.  [DiS.    XVI. 

They  give  themselves  up  to  care.  ■''■  Sensual  enjoyment : 
Enjoyment  of  sense-objects  such  as  sound.  They  are 
convinced  tliat  this  sensual  enjoyment  is  the  highest  end 
of  man. 

12.  Round  by  hundreds  of  bands  of  hope,  given 
over  to  lust  and  wrath,  they  strive  to  secure  b}^ 
unjust  means  hoards  of  wealth  for  sensual  enjoy- 

They  are  attracted  here  and  there,  bound  by  a  hundred 
bands  of  false  hopes.  They  secure  wealth  for  sensual 
enjoyment,  not  for  (performing  acts  of)  dharma.  By  unjust 
means  :  by  robbing  other  men's  wealth. 

The  materialist's  aspirations. 

Their  aspiration  is  expressed  as  follows  : 

13.  This  to-da}'  has  been  gained  by  me  ;  this 
desire  I  shall  attain  ;  this  is  mine,  and  this  wealth 
also  shall  be  mine  in  future. 

In  future  :  in  the  coming  year  this  wealth  also  shall  be 
mine,  and  thereby  I  shall  bs  known  to  be  a  man  of 

14.  "  That  enemy  has  been  slain  by  me,  and 
others  also  shall  I  slay.  I  am  a  lord,  I  enjoy,  I 
am  successful,  strong  and  healthy. 

That   unconquerable   enemy,    say    Devadatta  by  name, 

*  The  immeasurable    care    as  to   iho       innuiiKTable  objects  of  desire. A. 

means  of  accjuirins;  and   preserviii»^   iho 


has  been  slain  by  me,  and  others  also  shall  I  slay.  What 
can  these  poor  men  do  ?  There  is  none  equal  to  me  in  any 
respect. — How  ? — I  am  a  lord,  I  enjoy,  I  am  successful  in 
every  way,  blessed  with  children  and  grandchildren  ;  I  am 
no  ordinary  man,  I  am  alone  strong  and  healthy. 

15.  "  I  am  rich  and  well-born.  Who  else  is 
equal  to  me  ?  I  will  sacrifice,  I  will  give,  I  will 
rejoice."     Thus  deluded  by  unwisdom, 

16.  Bewildered  by  many  a  fancy,  entangled  in 
the  snare  of  delusion,  addicted  to  the  gratification 
of  lust,  they  fall  into  a  foul  hell. 

Well-born  :  born  in  a  family  learned  in  the  scriptures  for 
seven  generations.  Even  in  this  respect  none  is  equal  to 
me.  I  will  surpass  others  even  in  respect  of  sacrificial 
rites.  I  will  give  (money)  to  actors  and  obtain  a  high 
delight.  Many  a  fancy  :  such  as  those  described  above. 
Delusion  is  a  snare,  as  it  is  of  the  nature  of  an  enclosure  or 
envelope.  They  are  addicted  to  sensual  gratification  ;  and 
with  sins  thus  accumulated  they  fall  into  a  foul  hell,  such 
as  Vaitara/a. 

The  materialist  5  sacrificial   rites. 

17.  Self-honored,  stubborn,  filled  with  the 
pride  and  intoxication  of  wealth,  they  perform 
sacrifices  in  name  with  hypocrisy,  without  regard 
to  ordinance. 

Self-honored  :  Esteeming  themselves  as  possessed  of  all 
good   qualities  ;    they    are   not    esteemed    as   such   by  the 

380  THE    BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.  XVI. 

righteous.     They  perform    sacrifices  without    regard  to  the 

several    parts   and    obhgations  enjoined    in    the   scriptural 


The  materialist's  neglect  of  Divine  Commandments. 

18.  Given  over  to  egotism,  power,  haughtiness, 
lust,  and  anger,  these  malicious  people  hate  Me  in 
their  own  and  other's  bodies. 

/Egotism  :  they  esteem  themselves  very  high  for  qualities 
which  they  really  possess  and  for  those  which  they  falsely 
attribute  to  themselves.  This  egotism  is  what  is  called 
avidyii ;  and  it  is  the  hardest  thing  (to  overcome),  the  source 
of  all  perversities  (doshas),  of  all  evil  actsV  Power:  accom- 
panied with  lust  and  passion,  and  seeking  to  humiliate 
others.  Haughtiness  :  when  this  arises  one  transgresses  the 
path  of  virtue  ;  it  is  a  peculiar  vice  seated  in  the  anta/t- 
kara//a.  Lust:  sexual  passion,  and  the  like.  Anger:  at 
something  unpleasant.  They  are  given  over  to  these  and 
other  great  vices.  Moreover,  they  hate  Me,  the  Isvara, 
abiding  in  their  own  and  other  bodies  as  the  Witness  of 
their  thoughts  and  actions.  To  hate  Me  is  to  transgress  My 
commands.'''  They  are  malicious,  jealous  of  the  virtue  of 
those  who  tread  the  right  path. 

The  materialist's  fall. 

ig.     These  cruel  haters,  worst   of  men,    I   hurl 
these   evil-doers    for    ever    in  the  worlds    into   the 
wombs  of  the  demons  only. 

These  :  the  enemies  of  the  right    path    and  haters   of   the 
righteous.     Worst :    because  they  are  guilty  of  unrighteous 

*  Not  caring  to  know   and  follow    tha       Sruti   and  the  Sm;iti. — (A) 
/svara's  commands   as   embodied   in  tlje 



deeds  (a-dharma).  Worlds :  paths  of  sa/wsara  passing  through 
many  a  hell.  Wombs  of  the  demons:  wombs  of  the  most 
cruel  beings  such  as  tigers,  lions  and  the  like. 

20.  Entering  into  demoniac  wombs,  the  de- 
luded ones,  in  birth  after  birth,  without  ever 
reaching  Me,  O  son  of  Kunti,  pass  into  a  condi- 
tion still  lower  than  that. 

These  deluded  creatures  are  born,  birth  after  birth,  only 
in  Tcimasic  wombs  and  pass  into  lower  and  lower  states. 
Without  ever  reaching  Me,  the  livara,  they  fall  into  a  condi- 
tion which  is  still  lower  (than  they  are  in  at  present).  Without 
reaching  Mc  :  Certainly  there  is  no  room  whatever  even  for 
the  supposition  that  they  will  ever  reach  Me.  The  meaning, 
therefore,  is,  'without  ever  attaining  to  the  right  path  taught 
by  Me.'  * 

The  three  Gates  of  Hell  to  be  avoided. 

Here  follows  a  summary  of  the  whole  demoniac  (asuric) 
nature  in  which,  in  its  three  forms,  the  whole  variety  of 
asuric  nature,  though  endless,  is  comprehended ;  which  be- 
ing avoided,  the  whole  asuric  nature  becomes  avoided,  and 
which  is  the  source  of  all  evil. 

21.  Triple  is  this,  the  gate  to  hell,  destructive 
of  the  self :  LUST,  WRATH,  and  greed.  Therefore, 
these  three,  one  should  abandon. 

The  gate   to    Ml :    the   gate   leading  to  hell  (naraka).  By 

*  The  meaning  on  the  whole  is  this.  The  while  he  is  yet  a  free  agent,  while  he  has 

tsuric    nature,    ae    leading  to  a  series  of  not  yet  passed  into  a  birth   which    would 

evils,  is  inimical  to  all  human  progress.  A  make  him  entirely  dependant  on  others, 

nian  should,  therefore,  try  and  shake  it  oil  —A. 

382  THE    BHaCAVAD-gItA.  [DiS.  XVI. 

merely  entering  at  the  gate,  the  self  is  ruined,  i.  e.,  is  fit  for 
no  human  end  whatever.  Since  this  gate  is  ruinous  to  the 
self,  let  every  one  abandon  these  three ;  lust,  wrath  and 

Here  follows  the  praise  of  this  abandonment : 

22.  A  man  who  is  released  from  these,  the 
three  gates  to  darkness,  O  son  of  Kunti,  does  good 
to  the  self,  and  thereby  reaches  the  Supreme  Goal. 

Gates  to  darkness :  leading  to  hell  (naraka)  which  is  full  of 
pain  and  delusion.  He  who  is  released  from  lust,  wrath 
and  greed  will  act  for  the  good  of  the  self,  because  of  the 
absence  of  that  by  which  obstructed  he  has  not  heitherto  so 
acted.     By  so  doing  he  even  attains  moksha. 

Let  the  Law  guide  thy  life. 

The  scripture  (sflstra)  is  the  authority  on  which  all  this 
renunciation  of  asuric  nature,  and  the  observance  of  what  is 
good,  are  based.  One  would  engage  in  these  only  on  the 
authority  of  the  scriptures  (silstra),  not  otherwise.  There- 

23.  He  who,  neglecting  the  scriptural  ordin- 
ance, acts  under  the  impulse  of  desire,  attains  not 
perfection,  nor  happiness,  nor  the  Supreme  Goal. 

Scriptural  ordinance  :  the  command  of  the  Veda  in  the 
form  of  injunctions  and  prohibitions,  giving  us  to  know 
what  ought  to  be  done  and  what  ought  not  to  be  done. 
Perfection  :  fitness  for  attaining  the  end  of  man.  Happiness  : 
in  this  world.  Supreme  Goal :  Svarga  or  Moksha,  (as  the 
case  may  be). 


24.  Therefore,  the  scripture  is  thy  authority  in 
deciding  as  to  what  ought  to  be  done  and  what 
ought  not  to  1)^  done.  Now,  thou  oughtest  to 
know  and  perform  thy  duty  laid  down  in  the  scrip- 

Authority:  source  of  knowledge.  Scripture- Laiv :  The 
scripture  itself  is  the  Law,  which  says  "  thou  shalt  act  so 
and  so,  thou  shalt  not  act  so  and  so."  Noiv  :  referring  to 
the  stage  where  the  disciple  is  fit  for  Karma- Yoga. 

r*^  ^  ^^ 


The  ignorant,   but   faithful. 

"  The  Lord's  words  (xvi.  24)  having  given  Arjuna  an 
occasion  for  a  question,  he  said  : 

Arjuna  said  : 

I.  Whoso  worship,  setting  aside  the  ordinance 
of  the  scripture,  endued  with  faith, — what  faith  is 
theirs  ?  Is  it  Sattva,  or  Rajas,  or  Tamas  ? 

IVJioso :  not  exactly  specified.  It  must  refer  to  those 
who,  endued  with  faith,  i.  c,  thinking  that  there  is  some- 
thing beyond, — on  observing  the  conduct  of  the  learned, — 
worship  the  Gods  and  the  like,  unaware  of  the  procedure 
laid  down  in  the  scriptures,  the  sruti  and  the  smriti.  Those, 
on  the  other  hand,  who,  while  knowing  the  injunctions  of 
the  scripture,  set  them  aside  and  worship  the  Gods,  &c., 
contrary  to  those  injunctions, — they  cannot  indeed  be  meant 
here,  because  of  the  qualification  that  they  are  '  endued 
with  faith  '.  We  cannot  suppose  that  those  men  are  endued 
with  faith  who,  while  knowing  the  scriptural  injunctions 
about  the   worship   of  the   Gods,    etc.,    set    them    aside, 

ir  The  Lord  has   described   the   future  believe  in  their    teachings.  Xow   Arjuna 

lots  of  astikas  and  nastikas,  of  believers  proceeds   to   ask   as   to   the   fate   of  the 

and  unbelievers,  of  persons  who,    seeing  believers  who  do  not  know  the  scriptures. 

with  the  eye  of  the  scriptures,  do  or  do  not  — A. 

1-2.]  THE  THREEFOLD  TAITH.  385 

without  caring  for  them^^  and  engage  in  the  worship  of 
the  Gods  which  is  not  in  accordance  with  the  injunctions. 
Therefore  it  is  only  the  persons  of  the  other  class  described 
above  that  are  here  referred  to.  Arjuna's  question  may  be 
thus  stated  :  Is  the  worship  offered  by  them  to  the  Gods, 
etc.,  based  in  Sattva,  or  Rajas,  or  Tainas  ? 

The  three  kinds  of  Faith. 

Seeing  that  such  a  general  question  cannot  be  answered 
without  reference  to  the  several  particular  aspects  of  it,  the 
Blessed  Lord  said : 

The  Blessed  Lord  said  : 
2.     Threefold  is  that  faith  born  of  the  individual 
nature    of  the  embodied, — Sattvic,    Rajasic,    and 
Tamasic.     Do  thou  hear  of  it. 

Faith,  of  which  thou  hast  asked,  is  of  three  sorts.  It  is 
born  of  the  individual  nature  (svabhava)  :  i.  e.,  the  sawskara 
or  tendency  made  up  of  the  self- reproductive  latent 
impressions  of  the  acts — good  and  bad,  Dharma  and 
Adharma — which  were  done  in  the  past  births  and  which 
manifested  themselves  at  the  time  of  death.  Sattvic  :  faith 
in  the  worship  of  the  Gods  (Davas)  which  is  an  effect  of 
Sattva.  Kdjasic  :  faith  in  the  worship  of  the  Yakshas  and 
the  Rakshasas,  which  is  an  effect  of  Rajas.  Tamasic  :  faith 
in  the  worship  of  the  Pretas  and  the  Pisachas,  which  is  an 
effect  of  Tamas.  Do  thou  understand  the  threefold  faith 
which  is  going  to  be  described. 

*  Ami  who  nre  therefore  to  be  classed       preceding  discourse.— A 
among  demons  (asuras),  as  shewn  in  the 


386  THE  bhagaVad-gita.  [Dis.  XVIl 

As  to  this  threefold  Faith, 

3.     The  faith  of  each    is  in    accordance  with  his 
nature,  O  Bharata.     The  man    is    made  up   of  his         | 
faith  ;  as  a  man's  faith  is,  so  is  he.  I 

Each  :  every  livinpf  being.  Nature  (Sattva)  :  the  antaA- 
kara/ia  with  its  specific  tendencies  or  sawskara.  Man : 
Jiva,  sawsiirin.     So  :  in  accordance  with  that  faith. 

So  the  Sattvic  faitli  or  the  hke  has  to  be  inferred  from 
its  characteristic  effects,  namely,  the  worship  of  the  Gods 
or  the  like.     The  Lord  says  : 

4  Sattvic  men  worship  the  Gods  ;  Rajasic,  the 
Yakshas'^  and  the  Rakshasas  ;  the  others, — Tama- 
sic  men, — the  Pretas  and  the  hosts  of  Bhutas. 

■''  Hosts  of  Bhutas  :  as  also  the  seven  iNIatnkas. 

Men  of  Rajasic  and  Tamasic  Faiths. 

Thus,  by  a  general  principle  laid  down  in  the  scripture, 
Sattvic  and  other  devotions  have  been  determined  through 
their  respective  effects.  Now  only  one  in  a  thousand  is 
Sattvic  and  devoted  to  the  worship  of  the  Gods,  while 
the  Rajasic  and  Tamasic  creatures  form  the  majority. 
How  ? 

5.  Those  men  who  practise  terrific  austerities 
not  enjoined  by  the  scripture,  given  to  hypocrisy 
and  egotism,  endued  with  the  strength  of  lust  and 
passion  ; 

if  Gods  :  such  as  the  Vasus.     Yakshas  :  after  death,  attainpri    V.'iyii-dehas    (rcrial 

such   as    Kubora.     Rakshasas  :  such   as  bodies).     We   may   understand   that   all 

Nairrita.     Pretas  :  thoss  who,  while  they  thjse  beings,    when  worshippsd,  answer 

had  been  on  earth  as  brahniaiias,   etc.,  the  prayers  of  the  devotees   by   granting 

peglqcted  their  proper  duties,    and   who,  their  respective  desires— A. 

3-7']  THE    THREIil'OI.D  FAITH  387 

0.  Weakening,'  all  the  elements  in  the  body — 
fools  they  .are — and  Mc  who  dwell  in  the  body  with- 
in ;  know  thou  these  to  be  of  demoniac  resolves. 

Terrific  :  causing  pain  to  himself  and  toother  living  beings. 
Endued,  etc  :  This  portion  of  the  text  may  also  be  inter- 
preted to  mean  '  possessed  of  lust,  passion  and  strength.' 
Elements :  organs.  Me :  Naraya;/a,  the  Witness  of  their 
thoughts  and  deeds.  To  v/eaken  Mc  is  to  neglect  My 
teaching.  Know  thou  that  they  are  demoniac  (asuric)  in 
their  resolves,  so  that  you  may  avoid  them.  This  is  a  word 
of  advice  to  Arjuna. 

Threefold  Food,  Worship,  Austerity  and  Gift. 

Now  will  be  shown  what  sort  of  food — which  is  divided 
into  three  classes,  viz.,  that  which  is  savoury  and  oleaginous, 
and  so  on — is  dear  to  the  Sattvic,  Rajasic  and  Tamasic 
men  respectively,  so  that  a  man  may  know  that  he  is  one  of 
Sattva  or  of  Rajas  or  of  Tamas  as  indicated  by  his  own  par- 
tiality for  one  or  another  particular  class  of  food — ^such  as 
the  savoury  and  the  oleaginous — and  then  give  up  the 
Rajasic  and  Tamasic  food  and  resort  to  Sattvic  one.  Simi- 
larly, the  object  of  the  threefold  division  here  made  of 
sacrifice  and  the  like  according  to  the  Sattva  and  other 
gu»as  is  to  show  how  a  man  may  find  out  and  give  up  the 
Rajasic  and  Tamasic  ones  and  resort  exclusively  to  the 
Sattvic  ones.     The  Lord  says  : 

7.  The  food  also  which  is  dear  to  each  is  three- 
fold, as  also  worship,  austerity  and  gift.  Do  thou 
hear  of  this,  their  distinction. 

Each  :  Every  living  being  that  eats.     This  :  that  which  is 
going  to  be  described  .     Their  :  of  food  (ahara),  etc. 


The  three  kinds  of  Food. 

8,  The  foods  which  increase  hfe,  energy, 
strength,  health,  joy  and  cheerfulness,  which  are 
savoury  and  oleaginous,  substantial  and  agreeable, 
are  dear  to  the  Sattvic. 

Oleaginous  :  oily,  fatty,     ^ubstmiiial :  which  can    last    long 
in  the  body. 

g.  The  foods  that  are  bitter,  sour,  saline,  exces- 
sively hot,  pungent,  dry  and  burning,  are  liked  by 
the  Rajasic,  causing  pain,  grief  and  disease. 

Excessively:  should  be  construed. with  all,  thus,   excessively 
bitter,  excessively  hot,  &c. 

10.  The  food  which  is  stale,  tasteless,  putrid 
and  rotten,  refuse  and  impure,  is  dear  to  the 

Stale :  Half-cooked.  '  Yatayama  '  (///.  cooked  three  hours 
ago)  meaning  'powerless'  is  thus  explained,  to  avoid 
tautology  ;  for,  the  next  word  '  gatarasa  '  (tasteless)  means 
the  same,  ?.  f.,  '  powerless.'  Rotten:  the  cooked  food  over 
which  one  night  has  passed.  Refuse :  left  after  a  meal. 
Impure :  unfit  for  offering. 

The  three  kinds  of   Worship 

Now  the  three  sorts  of  worship  will  be  described  : 

11.  That  worship  is  Sattvic  which  is  offered  by 
men  desiring  no  fruit,  as  enjoined  in  the  Law, 
with  a  hxed  resolve  in  the  mind  that  they  should 
merely  worship. 

8-15-]  THK    THREEFOLD    FAITH.  389 

That  they  should  mci'cly  worship  :  t'.iat  their  duty  !i(;s  in  the 
mere  performance  of  the  worship  itself,  that  no  personal 
end  has  to  be  achieved  by  that  means. 

12.  That  whicli  is  offered,  O  best  of  the  Bha- 
ratas,  with  a  view  to  reward  and  for  ostentation, 
knovv-  it  to  be  a  Rajasic  worship. 

13.  Thc}'  declare  that  worship  to  be  Tamasic 
which  is  contrary  to  the  ordinances,  in  which  no 
food  is  distributed,  which  is  devoid  of  mantras  and 
gifts,  and  which  is  devoid  of  faith. 

Distributed :  to  brahma>vas.  Devoid  of  inantras  :  with 
hymns  defective  in  utterance  and  accent.  Gifts  :  prescribed 
fees  (to  priests). 

Physical  Austerity. 

Now  the  three  kinds  of  austerity  will  be  described  : 

14.  Worshipping  the  Gods,  the  twice-born, 
teachers  and  wise  men, — purity,  straightforward- 
ness, continence,  and  Jibstinence  from  injur}-  are 
termed  the  bodily  austerity. 

The  bodily  austerity  :  that  which  is  accomplished  by  the 
body,  i.  e.,  in  which  the  body  is  the  chief  of  all  factors 
of  action, — the  doer,  etc., — of  which  the  Lord  will  speak 
in  xviii.  15. 

Austerity  in  Speech. 

15.  The  speech  which  causes  no  excitement 
and  is  true,  as  also  pleasant  and  beneficial,  and 
also  the  practice  of  sacred  recitation,  are  said  to 
form  the  austerity  of  speech. 


Excitcmcni  :  p.iin  to  living  beings.  Pleasant  auJ  beneficial  : 
having  respectively  to  do  with  the  seen  and  the  unseen. 
'Speech'  is  specified  by  the  attributes  of  *  causing  no  excite- 
ment'  and  so  on.  An  invariable  combination  of  all  these 
attributes  is  here  meant.  That  speech  addressed  to  others 
which,  though  causing  no  pain,  is  devoid  of  one,  two  or 
three  of  the  other  atttributes — i.e.,  is  not  true,  not  pleasant 
and  not  beneficial — cannot  form  the  austerity  of  speech  ;  so, 
that  speech  which,  though  true,  is  wanting  in  one,  two,  or 
three  of  the  other  attributes  cannot  form  the  austerity  of 
speech  ;  so,  an  agreeable  speech  which  is  wanting  in  one, 
two  or  three  of  the  other  attributes  cannot  form  the  auste- 
rity of  speech.  So,  the  speech  which,  though  beneficial,  is 
wanting  in  one,  two,  or  three  of  the  other  attributes  cannot 
form  the  austerity  of  speech. — What  forms  the  austerity 
then  ? — The  speech  that  is  true,  that  causes  no  excitement, 
that  is  agreeable  and  good,  forms  the  austerity  of  speech  ;  '■■■ 
as  for  example,  "  Be  tranquil,  my  son,  study  (the  Vedas) 
and  practise  yoga,  and  this  will  do  thee  good."  Practice  of 
sacred  recitation  :  according  to  ordinances. 

Mental  Austerity. 

i6.  Serenity  of  mind,  good-heartedness,  silence, 
self-control,  purity  of  nature, — this  is  called  the 
mental  austerity. 

Good-heartedness  :  the  state  of  mind  which  may  be  inferred 
from  its  effects,  such  as  the,  brightness  of  the  face,  &c. 
Silence  :  even  silence  in  speech  is  necessarily  preceded  by  a 
control  of  thought,    and  thus  the  effect  is  here  put  for  the 

H-  i.  e.  the  austerity  practised  specially        plays  the  leading  part.— A. 
in  regard  to  speech,  i.  c.  in  which  speech 

I5-18.]  THE  THREEFOLD    FAITH.  39I 

cause,  viz.,  the  control  of  thought.  Sclf-conivol  :  a  general 
(control  of  the  mind.    This  is  to  be  distinguished  from  silence 

(mauna)  which  means  tlie  control  of  thought  so  far  as  it 
[concerns  speech.  Piwity  of  mitiiyc  :  Honesty  of  purpose  in 
I  dealings  with  other  people. 

The  three  kinds  of  Austerity  according:  to  Qunas. 

The  Lord  proceeds  to  show  that  the  foregoing  austerity, — 
bodily,  vocal  and  mental, — as  practised  by  men,  is  divided 
into  classes  according  to  Sattva  and  other  gu//as. 

17.  This  threefold  austerity,  practised  by  de- 
vout *  men  with  utmost  faith,  desiring  no  fruit, 
they  call  Sattvic. 

Thi'Ci'fold  :  having  respectively  to  do  with  the  three  seats 
— body,  speech,  and  mind.  With  faith  :  believing  in  the 
existence  of  things  (taught  in  the  scriptures.) 

18.  That  austerity  which  is  practised  with  the 
object  of  gaining  good  reception,  honour  and  wor- 
ship, and  with  hypocrisyt,  is  said  to  be  of  this  t 
world,  to  be  Rajasic,  unstable  and  uncertain. 

Good  reception  :  in  such  words  as  '  Here  is  a  good  brah-  of  great  austerities.'  Honouy  :  the  act  of  rising  to  greet, 
of  making  a  reverential  salutation,  &c.  Wovship  :  the  wash- 
ing of  feet,  adoring  and  feeding.  Unstable  :  as  productive 
of  a  transient  effect.      . 

*  Balanced   in     minrl :     unaffected     in  show. — A. 

success  and  failure— A.  ;  Yielding  fruit  only  hi  this  World— A. 

t  With     no     shicere    belief,   for     mere 

392  THE  bhagavad-gIta.  [Dis.  XVII. 

19.  That  austerity  which  is  practised  out  of  a 
foolish  notion,  with  self-torture,  or  for  the  purpose 
of  ruining  another,  is  declared  to  be  Tamasic. 

The  three  kinds  of  Gift. 

Now  the  threefold  nature  of  gift  will  be  described. 

20.  That  gift  which  is  given — knowing  it  to  be 
a  duty  to  give — to  one  who  does  no  service,  in 
place  and  in  time,  and  to  a  worthy  person,  that 
gift  is  held  Sattvic. 

Given  to  one,  etc  :  to  one  who  cannot  return  the  good,  or  to 
one  from  whom,  though  able  to  return  the  good,  no  such 
return  is  expected.  Place :  Kurukshetra  &c.  Time :  Sa/«- 
kranti  (passage  of  the  sun  from  one  Zodiacal  sign  to  another), 
etc.     Worthy  :  as  learned  in  the  six  sciences  (angas)  &c. 

21.  And  that  gift  which  is  given  with  a  view 
to  a  return  of  the  good,  or  looking  for  the  fruit,  or 
reluctantly,  that  gift  is  held  to  be  Rajasic. 

With  a  view,  &=€  :  hoping  that  he  (the  donee)  will  in  time 
return  the  service,  or  that  the  gift  will  secure  for  himself 
some  (novv^)  unseen  reward. 

22.  The  gift  that  is  given  at  a  wrong  place  or 
time,  to  unworthy  persons,  without  respect  or 
with  insult,  that  is  declared  to  be  Tamasic. 

At  a  wrong  place  and  time  :  at  a  placa  which  is  not  sacred 
and  which  is  associated  with  mlechchhas  (Non-aryans), 
with  unholy  things  and  the  like,  and  at  a  time  which  is  not 
auspicious — i.e.,  which  is  not  marked  with  any  such  speciality 
as   the  sun's   passage   from    one  zodiacal   sign   to  another. 

I19-24.]  THE    THREEFOLD    FAITH.  393 

iJnwoythy  pcisons  :  such  as  fools  or  rogues.  Without  respect : 
[without  agreeable  speech,  without  the  washing  of  feet,  or 
■without  worship,  though  the  gift  be  made  in  proper  time 
[und  place. 

How  to  perfect  the  defective  acts. 

The  following  instructions  are  given  with  a  view  to  per- 
fecting sacrifices,  gifts,  austerities,  &c. 

23.  " Om, Tat,  Sat  ":  this  has  been  taught  to 
be  the  triple  designation  of  Brahman*.  By  that 
were  created  of  oldt  the,  brahmanas  and  the  Vedas 
and  the  sacrifices. 

Taught :  in  the  Vedanta  by  the  knowers  of  Brahman. 
By  that  etc.:  by  the  triple  designation,  etc.  This  is  said  in 
praise  of  (the  triple)  designation. 

24.  Therefore,  with  the  utterance  of '0;;f,'  are 
the  acts  of  sacrifice,  gift  and  austerity,  as  enjoined 
in  the  scriptures,  always  begun  by  the  students  of 

Acts  of  sacrifice :  acts  in  the  form  of  sacrifice,  &c. 

25.  With  '  Tat,  '  without  aiming  at  the  fruits, 
are  the  acts  of  sacrifice  and  austerity  and  the 
various  acts  of  gift  performed  by  the  seekers  of 

With  '  Tat '  :  with  the  utterance  of  '  Tat ',  which  is  a 
designation  of  Brahman.  The  fruits  :  oi  sacnhce,  &c.  Acts 
of  gift  \  gUts  oi  laud,  gold,  &c. 

ir  When  a  sacrificial  rite  or  the   like   is  +  At  the  bcf,'inning  of   creation  by   the 

found  defective,  it  will  be  perfected  on  Prajapati. — A. 

the  utterance  of  one  of  the  three  desig-         +  ,  r.    1         .1  ...... 

+     Brahman  here  means  'Veda,'— A. 

nations. — A. 





The  use  of  '  Om  '  and  of  '  Tat '  has  been  explained.  Now 
the  use  of  '  Sat '  is  given  as  follows  : 

26.  The  word  '  Sat  '  is  used  in  the  sense  of 
reality  and  of  goodness  ;  and  so  also,  O  Partha, 
the  word  '  Sat '  is  used  in  the  sense  of  an  auspicious 

In  expressing  the  reality  of  an  object  which  is  unreal — as 
for  example,  the  birth  of  a  son  who  is  unreal — and  in 
expressing  that  a  man  is  one  of  good  conduct  who  is  not 
so,  this  designation  of  the  Brahman,  viz.,  the  word  '  Sat,' 
is  employed.  It  is  also  used  with  reference  to  the  act  of 
marriage  and  the  like*. 

£7.  Devotion  to  sacrifice,  austerity  and  gift  is 
also  spoken  of  as  '  Sat  '  ;  ■  and  even  action  in 
connection  with  these  is  called  '  Sat.' 

Sdcrijicc  :  the  act  of  sacrifice.  Spoken  of :  by  the  learned. 
These :  sacrifice,  gift  and  austerity.  Or,  '  tadarthiyam 
karma  '  may  be  interpreted  to  mean  action  for  the  sake  of 
the  Lord  whose  triple  designation  is  the  subject  of  treat- 
ment here.  These  acts  of  sacrifice,  gift  and  austerity, — 
even  such  of  them  as  are  not  of  the  Sattvic  class  and  are 
imperfect, — turn  out  to  be    Sattvic    and    perfect    ones,    on 

*  It  may  be  further  explained   thus  :  A  Good     and    absolutely     Auspicious,     is 

son   when    born   is   said   to    come    into  lipplied  to  a  man  whose    conduct   is   not 

existence.     From  the   stand-point,    how-  good  or  is  only  relatively  good,    or   to  an 

ever,  sf  the   Absolute,    he   never   exists.  act  which  is  not   auspicious  or   which   is 

Thus    the    word   '  Sat '     meaning   'real'  only  relatively  auspicious.     This  is   only 

properly    applicable     to   Brahman   who  to   illustrate    how   to     imperfectly    per- 

alone  is   real,    is  applied  also  to   a  son  formed  acts  of  sacrifice,  gift  and  austerity 

who  is  unreal  or   is  only   relatively   real.  the    designation    of  Brahman     may  be 

Similarly,    the    word     '  Sat,'     properly  applied— as  enjoined  here— with  a  view 

app:icableto  Brahman  who  is  absolutely  to  make  them  perfect. 

25-28.]  THE  THREEFOLD  FAITH.  395 

applying   to   them   with    faith     the   triple    designation    of 

Works  without    faith  are  fruitless. 

Because  all  these  acts  become  perfect  when  done  in  full 
faith,  therefore, 

28,  Whatever  is  sacrificed,  given,  or  done,  and 
whatever  austerity  is  practised,  without  faith,  it 
is  called  '  asat,'  O  Partha  ;  it  is  naught  here  or 

Given  :  to  the  brahma«as.  Deed  :  such  as  adoration  and 
obeisance,  ^sat :  as  they  are  quite  outside  the  path  by 
which  I  (the  Isvara)  may  be  reached.  It  is  nauf^ht :  though 
costing  much  trouble,  it  is  of  no  use  here  as  it  is  despised 
by  the  wise  ;  nor  can  it  produce  any  effect  hereafter. 

The  teaching  of  the  discourse  summed  up. 

[  The  teaching  of  this  discourse  may  be  thus  summed 
up  ; — There  are  devotees,  who,  though  ignorant  of  the 
scriptures,  are  yet  endued  with  faith,  and  who,  according 
to  the  nature  of  their  faith,  may  be  classed  as  Sattvic, 
Rajasic,  or  Tamasic.  These  should  cultivate  pure  Sattva 
by  avoiding  Rajasic  and  Tamasic  kinds  of  food,  worship, 
gift  and  austerity,  and  resorting  exclusively  to  Sattvic  ones. 
When  their  acts  of  worship,  gift,  and  austerity  are  found 
defective,  they  may  be  perfected  by  uttering  the  three 
designations  of  Brahman,  '  Om, '  '  Tat,  '  and  '  Sat. '  With 
their  reason  (buddhi)  thus  purified,  they  should  engage  in 
the  study  of  scriptures  and  in  the  subsequent  stages  of 
investigation  into  the  nature  of  Brahman.  Thereby  they 
attain  a  direct  perception  of  Truth  and  are  finally  liberated. 
^A.  ] 


*  Samnyasa  '  and  '  Tyaga  '  distinguished. 

In  the  present  discourse  the  Lord  proceeds  to  teach,  by 
way  of  summing  up,  the  doctrine  of  the  whole  of  the  Gita- 
Sastra,  as  also  the  whole  of  the  Vedic  Doctrine.  Verily,  the 
whole  of  the  doctrine  taught  in  the  preceding  discourses  is 
to  be  found  in  this  discourse.  Arjuna,  however,  asks  to 
know  only  the  distinction  in  meaning  between  '  samnyasa' 
and  '  iydga\ 

Arjuna  said  : 

I.  Of  '  sa/;inyasa  '  O  Mighty-armed,  I  desire  to 
know  the  truth,  O  Hrishikesa,  as  also  of  '  tyaga', 
severally,  O  Slayer  of  Kesin. 

Samnydsa:  the  connotation  of  the  term  '  saiiiiiydsa.'  Tydga  : 
the  connotation  of  the  term  Hydga".  Severally :  as  distin- 
guished from  each  other.  Kesin  was  an  Asura  whom  the 
Lord,  the  son  of  Vasudeva,  slew,  and  the  Lord  is  therefore 
addressed  as  'Kesi-nishudana,'  the  Slayer  of  Kesin. 

The  words  '  sa;/myasa  '  and  '  tyaga '  have  been  used  here 
and  there  in  the  preceding  discourses,  their  connotations, 
however,  not  being  clearly  distinguished.  Wherefore,  with 
a  view  to  determining  them,  the  Lord  addresses  Arjuna, 
who  desired  to  know  of  them,  as  follows  : 

1-2.]  CONCLUSION.  397 

The  Blessed  Lord  said  : 

J.  Sages  understand  '  sa;»nyasa  '  to  be  the  re- 
nouncement of  interested  works  ;  the  abandon- 
ment of  the  fruits  of  all  works,  the  learned  declare, 
is    '  tyaga  '. 

A  few  sages  understand  by  '  saw/nyasa  '  the  abandonment 
of  kdmya-karmani,  of  works  (such  as  the  Asvamedha,  Horse- 
sacrifice  )  acccompanied  with  a  desire  for  fruits.  The 
learned  declare  that  '  tyaga '  means  abandonment  of  the 
fruits  of  all  the  works  that  are  performed, — uitya  and 
naimittiha,  ordinary  and  extra-ordinary  duties, — /.  e.,  of  the 
fruits  that  may  accrue  to  the  performer. 

The  abandonment  of  interested  works  and  the  abandon- 
ment of  fruits  (of  works)  being  intended  to  be  ovpressed 
(by  the  two  words),  the  meaning  of  the  words  '  sawnyasa  ' 
and  '  tyaga  '  is  in  any  way  one  and  the  same  so  far  as  the 
general  idea  is  concerned,  namely,  ahmidonment .  They  are 
not  quite  so  distinct  in  meaning  as  the  words  '  jar  '  and 
'  cloth  '*. 

(Objection)  : —  The  nitya  and  naimittiha  works,  ordinary 
and  extra-ordinary  duties,  are  said  to  produce  no  fruits. 
How  is  it  that  the  abandoning  of  their  fruits  is  here  spoken 
of  ?  It  is  like  speaking  of  the  abandoning  of  a  barren 
woman's  son. 

[Amii'er)  : —  No  such  objection  may  be  raised  here,  since, 
in  the  opinion  of  the  Lord,  oidinary  and  occasional    duties 

♦  To  explain  the  two  words  as  meaning  As  explained  here,  the  two  words  convey 
two  altogether  distinct  things  would  be  the  same  general  idea  with  some  distinc- 
in  contravention  to  the  accepted  usage.      tion.^A. 

3g8  THE    BHAGAVAD-GiTA.  [DiS.  XVIII. 

produce  their  own  fruits,  as  He  will  show  in  xviii.  12, 
where,  indeed,  while  teaching  that  sawmyasins  alone 
(those  alone  who  have  renounced  all  desire  for  the  fruits  of 
works)  have  no  connection  whatever  with  those  fruits,  the 
Lord  teaches  also  that  those  who  are  not  sa;«nytisins  will 
have  to  reap  the  fruits  of  the  ordinary  works  which  they 
are  bound  to  perform.  ^ 

Should  the  ignorant  perform  works  or  not? 

3.  That  action  should  be  abandoned  as  an  evil, 
some  philosophers  declare  ;  while  others  (declare) 
that  acts  of  sacrifice,  gift  and  austerity  should  not 
be  given  up. 

Some  philosophers,  following  the  doctrine  of  the  San- 
khyas,  etc.,  declare  that  all  action  should  be  given  up  as 
an  evil,  even  by  those  who  are  fit  for  Karma- Yoga.  As  an 
evil :  this  may  be  interpreted  to  mean  either  that  all  Karma 
should  be  given  up  as  involving  evil  since  it  is  the  cause  of 
bondage  ;  or  that  it  should  be  given  up  like  passion  and 
other  such  evil  tendencies.  With  regard  to  the  same  class 
of  persons  {viz.,  those  who  are  fit  for  Karma- Yoga),  others 
say  that  the  acts  of  sacrifice,  gift  and  austerity  ought  not 
to  be  abandoned. 

It  is  the  Karma- Yogins  that  form  the  subject  of  discussion 
here  ;  and  it  is  with  reference  to  them  that  these  divergent 
views  are  held,  but  not  with  reference  to  the  jfiana-nish^has 
(wisdom-devotees),  the  sa;;myasins  who  have  risen  (above 
all  worldly  concerns).  Those  persons  who  have  been  raised 
above  the  path  of  Karma  in  iii.  3  are  not  spoken  of  in  this 

2-3]  CONCLUSION.  399 

(Objection)  : —  Just  as  the  persons  who  are  qualified  for 
works  form  the  subject  of  discussion  here — in  the  section 
where  the  whole  doctrine  of  the  sastra  is  summed  up, — 
though  their  path  has  already  been  specified  in  iii.  3,  so 
also  the  Sankhyas,  the  devotees  of  wisdom,  may  also  form 
the  subject  of  discussion  here, 

(Ausicey)  : —  No,  because  of  the  inconceivability  of  their 
abandoning  of  duty  from  delusion  or  on  account  of  pain. 
(To  explain)  :  The  Sankhyas  (men  of  knowledge)  perceive  in 
the  Self  no  pain  whatever  arising  from  bodily  trouble,  since 
desire,  pain,  &c.,  are  said  to  be  the  attributes  of  Kshetra 
or  matter.  Wherefore  they  do  not  abandon  action  for  fear 
of  bodily  trouble  and  pain.  Neither  do  they  perceive  action 
in  the  Self.  If  they  could  ever  perceive  action  in  the  Self, 
then  it  would  be  possible  to  imagine  their  abandoning  of 
obligatory  works  from  delusion.  In  fact,  they  abandon 
works  because  they  see  that  action  pertains  to  gu^^as  and 
think  '  I  do  nothing  at  all  '  (v.  8).  How  those  men  who 
know  the  truth  renounce  works  has  been  described  in  v,  13, 
&c.  Therefore  it  is  only  the  other  class  of  persons  v/ho  are 
ignorant  of  the  true  nature  of  the  Self  and  are  qualified  for 
works,  and  in  whose  case  the  supposition  of  the  abandon- 
ing of  duty  from  delusion  or  for  fear  of  bodily  trouble  is 
possible, — it  is  only  these  that  are  censured  as  Tamasic  and 
Rajasic  relinquishers  (tyagins)  in  order  to  praise  the 
abandoning  of  the  fruits  of  action  resorted  to  by  the  follow- 
ers of  works  who  do  not  know  the  Self.  And  the 
sawnyasin  proper  has  been  distinguished — by  the  Lord, 
when  defining  the  man  who  has  transcended  gu«as — as  one 
"  renouncing  all  undertakings... who  is  silent,  content  with 
anything,    homeless,    steady-minded, "    (xii.    i6 — 18). 

400  THE  bhagavad-gIta.  [Dis.  XVIII. 

And  the  Lord  will  hereafter  describe  (his  devotion)  as  "  that 
supreme  consummation  of  knowledge  "  (xviii.  50),  Thus, 
it  is  not  the  sa;/myasins,  who  are  the  devotees  of  wisdom, 
that  are  referred  to  here.  It  is  only  the  abandoning  of  the 
fruits  of  works  that,  by  reason  of  its  being  Sattvic,  is 
spoken  of  as  sawnyasa  in  contradistinction  to  the  Tamasic 
and  Rajasic  (abandoning  of  works)  ;  but  not  the  sawnyasa 
proper,  that  pre-eminent  renunciation  of  all  works. 

[Objection): — Since  xviii.  11  states  the  reason  why 
renunciation  of  all  action  is  an  impossibility,  it  is  only 
the  sawnyasa  proper  that  is  spoken  of  in  this  connection. 

(Answey) : —  No,  because  the  passage  referred  to  as  a 
statement  of  the  reason  is  only  intended  to  praise  (some- 
thing else  enjoined).  Just  as  the  passage  "  on  abandonment 
peace  closely  follows  "  (xii,  12)  is  only  a  praise  of  the  aban- 
donment of  the  fruits  of  works,  since  it  is  addressed  to 
Arjuna  who  is  ignorant  of  the  Self  and  who  could  not 
therefore  follow  the  several  paths  previously  spoken  of,  so 
also,  the  passage  here  referred  to  goes  to  praise  the  aban- 
donment of  the  fruits  of  action.  It  is  not  possible  for  any 
one  to  point  out  an  exception  to  the  proposition  "  Re- 
nouncing all  actions  by  thought,  and  self- controlled,  the 
embodied  one  rests  happily  in  the  nine-gated  city,  neither 
at  all  acting  nor  causing  to  act.  "  (v.  13).  Wherefore  these 
alternative  views  regarding  sawnyasa  and  tyaga  concern 
those  persons  only  for  whom  works  are  intended.  On  the 
other  hand,  the  Sankhyas,  those  who  see  the  Supreme 
Reality,  have  only  to  follow  the  path  of  knowledge, 
accompanied  with  the  renunciation  of  all  works  ;  and  they 
have  nothing  else  to  do,  and  do  not  therefore  form  the 
subject  of  the  alternative  views  set  forth   here.     And  so  we 

y^.]  CONCLUSIOK.  401 

established  this  proposition    while   commenting    on   ii.    21 
and  at  the  commencement  of  the  third  discourse. 

The  Lord's  decree  is  that  the  ignorant  should 
perform  works. 

Now,  as  to  these  divergent  views, 

4.  Learn  from  Me  the  truth  about  this  aban- 
donment, O  best  of  the  Bharatas  ;  abandonment, 
verily,  O  best  of  men,  has  been  declared  to  be  of 
three  kinds. 

Do  thou  learn  from  My  words  the  truth  as  to  the 
alternatives  of  abandonment  and  renunciation  referred  to. 
Abandommnt  (tyaga)  :  the  Lord  has  used  this  single  word 
here,  implying  that  the  meaning  of  '  tyaga  '  and  '  sawnyasa ' 
is  one  and  the  same.  Of  three  kinds  :  Tamasic,  &c.  Declared  : 
in  the  sastras.  Because  it  is  hard  to  know  the  fact  that 
the  threefold  (Tamasic,  &c.)  abandonment  denoted  by  the 
words  '  tyaga  '  and  '  sawnyasa  '  is  possible  in  the  case  of 
him  alone  who  does  not  know  the  Self  and  for  whom  works 
are  intended, — not  in  the  case  of  him  who  sees  the  Supreme 
Reality, — therefore  no  one,  other  than  Myself,  is  able  to 
teach  the  real  truth  about  the  subject.  Wherefore,  learn 
from  Me  what  My — the  Lord's — decree  is  as  to  the  real 
teaching  of  the  sastra. 

What  is  the  decree  then  ? — The  Lord  says  : 

5.  Practice  of  worship,  gift,  and  austerity 
should  not  be  given  up  ;  it  is  quite  necessary  ; 
worship,  gift  and  austerity  are  the  purifiers  of  the 

The  three  sorts  of  action  should  be   performed;  for,   they 


|0:2  THE    BHAGAVAD-GiTA.  [DiS.  XVIII. 

cause  purity  in  the  wise,  /.  c,  in  those  who  have  no  desire 
for  fruits. 

The  obligatory  works  should  be  performed 
without  attachment. 

6.  But  even  those  actions  should  be  performed, 
setting  aside  attachment  and  the  fruits  ;  this,  O 
son  of  Pritha,  is  My  lirm  and  highest  belief. 

Those  actions,  c\:c  :  the  acts  of  worship,  gift  and  austerity, 
which  have  been  said  to  be  purifiers,  should  be  performed, 
setting  aside  attachment  for  them  and  abandoning  their 

A  proposition  was  started  in  the  words,  '  Learn  from  Me 
the  truth  about  this  '  (xviii.  4)  ;  and  as  a  reason  for  it,  it  has 
been  stated  that  worship,  etc.,  are  the  purifiers  ;  so  that  the 

Words    "  even    those   actions    should    be    performed 

this  is  My  firm  and  highest  belief"  form  a  mere  conclusion 
of  the  proposition  started  in  xviii.  4.  "Even  those  actions 
should  be  performed  "  cannot  be  a  fresh  proposition  ;  for, 
it  is  better  to  construe  the  passage  as  related  to  the 
immediate  subject  of  the  present  section.  The  word  "even" 
implies  that  these  actions  should  be  performed  by  a  seeker 
of  liberation,  though  they  form  the  cause  of  bondage  in 
the  case  of  one  wl'o  has  an  attachment  for  the  actions  and 
a  desire  for  their  fruits.  The  words  '  even  those'  cannot 
certainly  refer  to  actions  other  (than  the  acts  of  worship, 

But  others  explain  :  Since  obligatory  (nitya)  actions  bear 
no  fruits,  it  is  not  right  to  speak  of  "  setting  aside  attach- 
ment and  the  fruits."  Therefore  in  the  words  "  even  those 
actions "   etc.,    the  Lord    teaches   that    even   those   works 

5-8.]  CONCLUSION.  403 

which  are  intended  to  secure  objects  of  desire — /.  c,  even 
h'lmya  or  interested  works,  as  opposed  to  nitya  or  obligatory 
works — should  be  performed  ;  how  much  more  then  the 
obligatory  acts  of  worship,  gift  and  austerity. 

It  is  wrong  to  say  so ;  for,  it  has  been  declared  here  that 
even  obligatory  actions  are  productive  of  fruits,  in  the 
words  "  worship,  gift  and  austerity  are  the  purifiers  of  the 
wise  "  (xviii.  5).  To  a  seeker  of  liberation  who  would  give  up 
even  the  obligatory  works,  looking  upon  th.em  as  the  cause 
of  bondage,  where  is  an  occasion  to  engage  in  interested 
works  ?  "  Even  these  actions  "  cannot  refer  to  interested 
(kamya)  works,  inasmuch  as  these  have  been  despised  as 
constituting  an  inferior  path  (ii.  49)  and  decisively  declared 
to  be  the  cause  of  bondage  (iii.  9,  ii.  45,  ix.  20,  21),  and 
are  too  far  removed  from  the  present  section. 

Tamasic  and  Rajasic  renunciations  of   works. 

Therefore  for  a  seeker  of  liberation  who  is  ignorant  and 
is  (therefore)  bound  to  perform  works, 

7.  Verily,  the  abandonment  of  an  obligatory 
duty  is  not  proper  ;  the  abandonment  thereof  from 
ignorance  is  declared  to  be  Tamasic. 

Not  proper  :  since  it  is  admitted  to  be  a  purifier  in  the 
case  of  an  ignorant  man.  To  hold  that  a  duty  is  obligatory 
and  then  to  abandon  it  involves  a  self-contradiction. 
Therefore,  this  sort  of  abandonment  is  due  to  ignorance 
and  is  said  to  be  Tamasic,  inasmuch  as  ignorance  is 


8.  Whatever  act  one  may  abanion  because  it 
is  painful,  from  fear  of  bodily  trouble,  he  practises 

404  THE  bhagavad-gIta.  [Dis.  XVIII. 

Rajasic    abandonment,    and   he   shall   obtain    no 
fruit  whatever  of  abandonment. 

He  does  not  obtain  moksha,  which  is  the  fruit  of  the 
renunciation  of  all  actions  accompanied  with  wisdom. 

Renunciation  in  works  is  Sattvic. 

What  then  is  the  StUtvic  abandonment  ? — The  Lord 
says : 

9.  Whatever  obligatory  work  is  done,  O  Arjuna, 
merely  because  it  ought  to  be  done,  abandoning 
attachment  and  also  the  fruit,  that  abandonment 
is  deemed  to  be  Sattvic. 

Abaiidoniiif^  etc.  :  These  words  of  the  Lord  form,  as  we 
have  said,  the  authority  which  declares  that  obligatory 
(nitya)  works  produce   fruits. 

Or  thus  : — An  ignorant  man  may  even  suppose  that,  though 
the  fruits  of  obligatory  works  are  not  declared  in  the 
Scripture,  the  obligatory  works,  when  performed,  do 
produce  their  fruits  for  the  doer  in  the  form  of  self-regenera- 
tion, or  by  way  of  warding  off  pratyavaya  or  the  sin  of 
non-performance.  But  even  this  supposition  is  prevented 
by  the  words  "  abandoning  the  fruits.  "  Hence  the 
appropriateness  of  the  words  "  abandoning  attachment  and 
the  fruits.  "  That  abandonment  :  the  abandoning  of  all 
attachment  for,  and  of  the  fruits  of,  obligatory  works. 

{Objection) : — It  is  the  ^threefold  abandonment  of  works — 
referred  to  as  '  sawnyasa  '  (xviii.  7) — that  forms  the  subject 
of  the  present  section  (xviii.  4,  &c.).  Out  of  the  three,  the 
Rajasic  and  Tamasic  (sorts  of  abandonment  of  works)  have 
been  treated  of.    How  is  it  that  the  abandonment  of  attach- 


merit  and  of  the //'/u7s  of  works  is  spoken  of  as  the  third? 
It  is  something  Hke  saying,  "  Three  brahma^as  have  come  ; 
two  of  them  are  proficient  in  sha^angas  or  the  six 
auxiHary  sciences,  and  the  third  is  a  Kshatriya  " 

{Ans7iri')  : — No  such  objection  can  be  raised  here ;  for,  the 
object  of  this  section  is  to  praise  (the  abandonment  of  the 
fruits  of  works,  as  compared  with  the  abandonment  of 
works,  i.  e.,  by  comparing  the  two  abandonments),  both 
being  alike  abandonments.  In  fact  the  abandonment  of 
works  and  the  abandonment  of  desire  for  the  fruits  do  agree 
in  so  far  as  they  alike  imply  abandonment.  Accordingly, 
by  despising  the  two  sorts  of  the  abandonment  of  worhs,   as 

Riljasic  and  Tamasic  abandonments,  the  abandonment  of 
desire  for  the  fniits  of  the  works  is  praised  as  being  the 
Sattvic  abandonment  in  the  words  '  that  abandonment  is 
deemed  to  be  Sattvic' 

From  renunciation  in  works  to  renunciation 
of  all  works. 

When  the  man  who  is  qualified  for  (Karma- Yoga)  per- 
forms obligatory  works  without  attachment  and  without  a 
longing  for  results,  his  inner  sense  (anta/;-kara«a),  unsoiled 
by  desire  for  results  and  regenerated  by  (the  performance 
of )  obligatory  works,  becomes  pure.  When  pure  and 
tranquil,  the  inner  sense  is  fit  for  contemplation  of  the  Self. 
Now,  with  a  view  to  teach  how  the  man  whose  inner  sense 
has  been  purified  by  the  performance  of  obligatory  works 
and  who  is  prepared  to  acquire  the  Self-knowledge,  may 
gradually  attain  to  jn4na-nish/ha  or  devotion  in  knowledge, 
the  Lord  proceeds  as  follows  : 



10.  He  hates  not  evil  action,  nor  is  he  attached 
to  a  good  one, — he  who  has  abandoned,  pervaded 
by  Sattva  and  possessed  of  wisdom,  his  doubts  cut 

Evil  action :  the  Kamya-karma,  the  interested  action, 
which  becomes  the  cause  of  sawsara  by  producing  a  body. 
He  does  not  hate  evil  action,  thinking  "  of  what  avail  is 
it?"  Goorf  07it:  nitya-karma,  obligatory  action.  He  cherishes 
no  attachment  for  it  by  way  of  thinking  that  it  leads  to 
moksha  by  purifying  the  heart  and  thereby  conducing  to 
knowledge  and  to  devotion  in  knowledge. — Of  whom  is  this 
said  ? — Of  him  who  has  abandoned  attachment  and  desire, 
and  who,  having  abandoned  attachment  to  action  and 
desire  for  its  fruit,  performs  obligatory  works  (  nitya- 
karma).  — When  does  he  hate  no  evil  action  ?  When  is  he 
not  attached  to  a  good  one  ? — When  he  is  permeated  with 
Sattva,  which  causes  a  discriminative  knowledge  of  the  Self 
and  the  not-Self.  As  he  is  permeated  with  Sattva,  he  becomes 
gifted  with  wisdom,  with  knowledge  of  Self.  As  he  becomes 
possessed  of  wisdom,  his  doubt  caused  by  avidya  is  cut 
asunder  by  tlie  conviction  that  to  abide  in  the  true  nature 
of  the  Self  is  alone  the  means  of  attaining  the  Highest 
Bliss,  and  that  there  is  no  other  means. 

That  is  to  say,  when  a  man  who  is  qualified  (for  Karma- 
Yoga)  practises  Karma- Yoga  in  the  manner  described  above 
and  thereby  becomes  gradually  refined  in  the  self  (anta/j- 
kara^a),  then  he  knows  himself  to  be  that  Self  who,  as 
devoid  of  birth  or  any  other  change  of  condition,  is  immut- 
able ;  he  renounces  all  action  in  thought  ;  he  remains  with- 
out acting  or  causing  to  act ;  he  attains  devotion  in  wisdom, 

lO-II.]  CONCLUSION.  407 

i.  c,  he  attains  freedom  from  action.  Thus,  the  purpose  of 
the  Karma- Yoga  described  above  has  been  taught  in  this 

Renunciation  of  fruits  is  alone  possible  for  the 


For  the  unenHghtened  man,  on  the  other  hand,  who 
wears  a  body  by  way  of  identifying  himself  with  it,  who, 
not  yet  disabused  of  the  notion  that  the  Self  is  the  agent  of 
action,  firmly  believes  that  he  is  himself  the  agent, — for  him 
who  is  thus  qualified  for  Karma- Yoga,  abandonment  of  all 
works  is  impossible,  so  that  his  duty  lies  only  in  perform- 
ing prescribed  works  by  abandoning  their  fruits, — not  in 
abandoning  those  works.  To  impress  this  point,  the 
Lord  proceeds  thus : 

II.     Verily,  it  is  not    possible  for   an   embodied    - 
being   to   abandon    actions    completely  ;    he   who 
abandons  the  fruits  of  actions    is  verily  said   to   be 
an  abandoner. 

An  embodied  being:  a  body-wearer,  i.  e.,  he  who  identifies 
himself  with  the  body.  No  man  of  discrimination  can  be 
called  a  body-wearer,  for  it  has  been  pointed  out  (ii.21,  etc.) 
that  such  a  man  does  not  concern  himself  (in  actions)  as 
their  agent.  So,  the  meaning  is  :  it  is  not  possible  for  an 
ignorant  man  to  abandon  actions  completely.  When  an 
ignorant  man  who  is  qualified  for  action  performs  obligatory 
works,  abandoning  merely  the  desire  for  the  fruits  of  his 
actions,  he  is  said  to  be  an  abandoner  (tyagin)  though  he  is 
a  performer  of  works.  This — the  title  "  abandoner," — is 
applied  to  him  for  courtesy's  sake.  Accordingly,  the 
abandonment  of  all  actions  is  possible  for  him  alone   who, 



realising  the  Supreme  Reality,  is  not  a  '  body-wearer,'  i.  e., 
does  not  regard  the  body  as  the  Self. 

Effects  of  the  two  renunciations  after  death. 

Now,    what   is   the    benefit    which     accrues     from    the 
abandonment  of  all  actions  ? — The  Lord  says  : 

12.  The  threefold  fruit  of  action, — evil,  good, 
and  mixed, — accrues  after  death  to  non-abandoners, 
but  never  to  abandoners. 

Fruit :  brought  forth  by  the  operation  of  various  external 
factors.  It  is  a  doing  of  avidya  ;  it  is  like  the  glamour  cast 
by  a  juggler's  artj'very  delusive,  inhering,  to  all  appearance, 
in  the  Innermost  Self ;  by  its  very  etymology,  the  word 
'phala, '  fruit,  implies  something  that  vanishes,  some- 
thing unsubstantial.  Action  (karma)  :  Dharma  and  A- 
dharma.  Evil :  such  as  hell  (naraka),  the  animal  kingdom, 
etc.  Good  :  such  as  the  Devas.  Mixed :  Good  and  evil 
mixed  together  in  one  ;  the  humanity.  These  three  sorts 
of  fruits  accrue  after  death  to  non-abandoners,  to  the 
unenlightened,  to  the  followers  of  Karma-yoga,  to  the 
abandoners  (sawnyasins)  not  strictly  so  called  '■'■  but  never 
to  the  real  sawnyasins,  engaged  exclusively  in  the  path  of 
knowledge(jfiana-nish^ha)  and  belonging  to  the  highest  order 
of  sawnyasins,  the  Paramahawsa-Parivrajakas.  Indeed, 
exclusive  devotion  to  Right  Knowledge  cannot  but  destory 
avidya  and  other  seeds  of  sawsara. 

Accordingly,  a  complete   abandonment    of  all    works   is 

*  That    is  to  say,    those   who  perforin       will    necessarily  reap,    after  death,    the 
■works  Without  desire    for    their    fruits       fruits  of  their  respective  actions— A. 

12-14.]  CONCLUSION.  409 

possible  for  him  alone  who  has  attained  to  Right  Know- 
ledge, inasmuch  as  he  sees  that  action  and  its  accessories 
and  its  results  are  all  ascribed  to  the  Self  by  avidyd, ;  but, 
for  the  unenlightened  man  identifying  himself  with  the 
body,  etc.,  which  constitute  action,  its  agent  and  acces- 
sories, complete  abandonment  of  action  is  not  possible. 
This  truth,  the  Lord  proceeds  to  teach  in  the  following 
verses : 

Factors  in  the  production  of  an  act. 

13.  These  live  factors  in  the  accomplishment 
of  all  action, know  thou  from  Me,  O  mighty-armed, 
as  taught  in  the  Sankhya  which  is  the  end  of 

These  :  which  are  going  to  be  mentioned.  Lea/n :  this 
exhortation  is  intended  to  secure  steady  attention  on  the 
part  of  the  hearer  to  what  follows,  as  well  as  to  indicate  the 
difference  (in  the  view  which  is  going  to  be  presented)  as  to 
the  nature  of  those  things.  In  the  words  "taught  in  the 
Sankhya,"  the  Lord  praises  them,  as  they  are  things  that 
ought  to  be  known.  Sankhya :  the  Vedanta  (the  Upanishads) 
in  which  all  the  things  that  have  to  be  known  are  expound- 
ed. It  is  qualified  by  the  epithet  "  knta-anta  ",  the  end  of 
action,  that  which  puts  an  end  to  all  action  (karma). 
The  v'erses  ii.  46.  and  iv.  33  teach  that  all  action  ceases 
when  the  knowledge  of  the  Self  arises  ;  so  that  the  Vedanta, 
which  imparts  Self-knowledge,  is  '  the  end  of  action.' 

14.  The  seat  and  actor  and  the  various  organs, 
and  the  several  functions  of  various  sorts,  and  the 
Divinity  also,  the  fifth  among  these  ; 




The  seat :  the  body  which  is  the  seat  of  desire,  hatred, 
happiness,  misery,  knowledge  and  the  like ;  i.  e.,  the  seat  of 
their  manifestation.  Adov:  the  enjoyer,  partaking  of  the 
character  of  the  upadhi  with  which  it  may  be  associated. 
The  various  organs :  such  as  the  sense  of  hearing,  by  which  to 
perceiv^e  sound,  &c.  Functions :  of  the  air  (vayu),  such 
as  outbreathing  and  inbreathing.  Of  various  sorts  :  twelve 
in  number.  Divinity  :  such  as  the  Aditya  and  other  Gods 
by  whose  aid  the  eye  and  other  organs  discharge  their 

15.  Whatever  action  a  man  does  by  the  body, 
speech  and  mind,  right  or  the  opposite,  these  five 
are  its  causes. 

Right :  not  opposed  to  dharma,  taught  in  the  sastra.  The 
opposite  :  what  is  opposed  to  dharma  and  opposed  to  sastra. 
Even  those  actions, — the  act  of  twinkling  and  the  like, — 
which  are  the  necessary  conditions  of  life  are  denoted  by 
the  expression  "the  right  or  the  opposite",  since  they  are 
but  the  effects  of  the  past  dharma  and  a-dharma.  Its  causes  : 
the  causes  of  every  action, 

{Objection) : —  The  body,  etc.  (xviii.  14),  are  necessary 
factors  in  every  action.  Why  do  you  speak  of  (a  distinction 
in  actions)  in  the  words  "  whatever  action  a  man  does  by 
the  body,  speech  or  mind  ?  " 

{Answer): —  This  objection  cannot  be  urged  against  us. 
In  the  performance  of  every  action,  whether  enjoined  or 
forbidden,  one  of  the  three — body,  speech  or  mind— has  a 
more  prominent  share  than  the  rest,  while  seeing,  hearing, 
and  other  activities,  which  form  mere  concomitants  of  life, 
are  subordinate  to  the   activity   of  that   one.     All   actions 


14-1^5]  CONCLUSION.  411 

are  thus  classed  into  three  groups  and  are  spoken  of  as  per- 
formed by  body,  or  speech,  or  mind.  Even  at  the  time 
of  fruition,  the  fruit  of  an  action  is  enjoyed  through  the 
instrumentaHty  of  body,  speech  and  mind,  one  of  them 
iieing  more  prominent  than  the  rest.  Hence  no  gainsaying 
of  the  assertion  that  all  the  five  are  the  causes  of  action 
(xviii.   14). 

The  agency  of  the  Self  is  an   illusion. 

16.  Now,  such  being  the  case,  verily,  he  who, 
as  untrained  in  understanding,  looks  on  the  pure 
Self  as  the  agent,  that  man  of  perverted  intelli- 
gence sees  not. 

Nozv  :  with  reference  to  what   we  are  speaking  of.     Such 
being  the  case  :  every  action  being  accomplished  by   the   five 

causes   described   above.      Now case:    this     shows   the 

reason  v/hy  the  person  here  referred  to  is  said  to  be  a   man 
of  perverted  intelligence.     The  unenlightened  one,  in  virtue 
of  his  ignorance,  identifies  the    Self  with   the   five   causes 
and  looks  upon  the  pure  Self  as  the   agent    of  the   action, 
which  is  really  accomplished   by  those  five    causes. — Why 
does  he  regard  them  so  ? — For,  his  understanding   (buddhi) 
has  not  been  trained  in  the  Vedanta,  has  not  been  trained  by 
a  master's  teaching,  has  not  been   trained  in  the  principles 
of  reasoning.  Even  he  who,  while  maintaining  the  existence 
of  the  disembodied  Self,  looks  upon  the   pure    Self  as    the 
agent,  is  a  man  of  untrained  understanding  ;   he    does    not 
therefore  see  the  truth  about   the    Self   and   action.     He  is 
therefore  a  man  of  perverted   intelligence, — his    intelligence 
takes  a    wrong  direction,    is   vicious,     continually   leading 
to  birth  and  death.     Though  seeing,  yet   he   does   not   see 

412  THE  diiagavad-gItA.  [Dis.  XVI II. 

(the  truth),  like  a  man  whuse  //wrm-.idected  eye  sees  many 
moons,  or  like  one  who  regards  that  the  moon  moves  when 
the  clouds  arc  in  motion,  or  like  a  who,  seated  in  a 
vehicle,  regards  himself  as  running  when  it  is  the  others 
I  (the  l»earcrs)  that  run. 

I^cflllsntlon  of  the  non  n^cncy  of  the  Self  leads  to 
ahHoUition  from  tfie  effects  of  nil   work*. 

Who  then  is  the  wise  man  that  sees  rightly  ? — Thf 
answer  follows  : 

17.  He  who  is  free  from  egotistic  notion, 
whose  mind  is  not  tainted, — though  he  kills  these 
creatures,  he  kills  not,  he  is  not  l)f)und. 

He  whose  mind  has  been  well  trained  in  the  scriptures, 
well-trained  by  a  master's  instructions,  and  well-trained  in 
the  soimd  principles  of  reasoning,  is  free  from  the  egotistic 
notion  that  'I  am  the  agent.'  He  thinks  thus:  It  is 
these  five— the  body,  Sec.,  ascribed  to  the  Self  through 
avidyA — that  arc  the  causes  of  all  action,  not  1.  I  am  the 
witness  of  their  actions,  I  am  '  without  breath,  without 
mind,  pure,  higher  than  the  Indestructible  which  is 
Supreme  "  (Mnm/.  Up.  2-1-2).  I  am  pure  and  immuta- 
ble. )le  whose  antaA-kara/za  fbuddhi),  which  is  an  upft.dhi 
of  the  Self,  is  not  tainted,  does  not  repent  thus  :  "  I  have 
done  this;  thereby  I  shall  go  to  naraka  (hell)."  He  is 
wise;  he  sees  rightly;  though  he  kills  all  these  living 
creatures,  he  commits  no  act  of  killing,  nor  is  he  bound  by 
the  fruit  of  a-dharma  as  an  effect  of  that  act. 

(Ohjfctwn): — I'vven  supposing  that  this  is  intended  as  a 
mere  praise,  the  statement  that  "  though  he  kills  all  these 
creatures,  he  does  not  kill  "  involves  a  self-contradiction. 


'f'*»7.1  CONCLUJSION.  4»} 


thinking  '  I  «uu  the  kiU^n  '  l>y  »U«?utitym^  Uk*  Sell   wiUi   tho 

physkivl  Knly,  \v..  tl><>  Ia>i\I  sitys,  '*  tlunigl*  \\<>  kills  ;"  tvuU 

fiotit  tUo  JlU»ul•^H>i^l;  of  ul»^v)UUt^    tmUh    vi\j>Uuuv7U    ttU>vv, 

.\y^,  *  hp  kilU  not,   Kc  k  not;  houiul.'       ThiK    hath     iu*i 

quUtf  t>.\|>licul»lv- 

((%<'d«/«) ;  riu-' S-U  if^jf  mi  it>  anijiuuUwu  wUU  the 
Knly,  vS:^\,  tt!4  uuplU^lby  tUt*  uw  v>t'  tl>p  wuul  *  puiv '  iu 
.will,  it>,  •  lip  \vIk>  U'okji  w»  th«?  |HUt>  SpU  asj  ilw  n^fut.* 

(^^'♦w<^*' ) ;  —  Thi)4  wntwUion  Ij*  w«([«»»mb)«> ;  tor.  thp  Sollf 
J-Muji,  iiy  untv»rt>,  l»u»uut(\bl«>,  \vt>  ^^mwt  anumvp  Uim  u> 
.i.  t  \\\  wuivuuHiuu  with  {ht»  Knly,  vS;v\  VVlmt  i^*  !<ul>)w(;  tu 
cluvugv>  crtn  nU>ur>  wuMu  with  otUpr>s,  i\uU  thu«  couj^.>u»«hI 
Ci*«  Ihk%)0»o  th((>  H^t'Ut.  Hut  thc'tf  civu  Imc*  ihj  cv.>ujuuctio«  ot 
tht>  ihunut»(>lf  S*»lt'  with  ttuythiu^  w  httt!!»o<L>vt»t\  mul  Ho 
V  uuu>t  tlKn«rtW<?  ivet  iu  wniumii^Lm  with  rtuothpt.  rhu!<» 
thp  iwlrtttnl  anulitiou  Ixpiu^    jmtuiul  to  th«>    S«>U',   tbt' woul 

p  •  |)urt» '  jtimply  it>tV>ri»  to  th<\t  ^mtutwl  a><uUtiou.  Ami  Hii* 
iuu«uit<\l>ility  i't  quitted  ^f'vidintt  tv>  ((ll»  i^s  tuu^ht    l>y  th(c>  yruti, 

i|  siuMti.  mul  i«»t\wJK  Iu  th<:>  OttA  itJMpH,  tW  i«!!»tt\«ct»,  it  lms< 
Uhi«  ovf V  auU  owr  tt^ttin    taught    iu    thp    swuvls,  *' Up  i» 

I  uuelmu»if<U>Ui"  (ii,  ^5) ;  **  tietiouH  Ht\>  wum^ht  l»y  kua^uj*" 
(IIL  ^7)  i  *' though  ^Iwt^Um^  iu  tht>  Unly,  h«?  iU'tJ*  uot" 
(\iii.  3it)«  Ami  th«)  <MUt4?  thiuj^  iit  ^^Iho  t^u^ht  iu  tho  i)a!mig<9» 
^xt  \\\<o  nutl  Huch  «*  *'  It  uitKlit»t«>>»  tt»  it  wpu\  It  movpjt  u>t  it 
wtMtV  [\in,  tf^>.  4<i  7).  Hy  »«*«>tv.>uiuH  rtlso  we  ui»y 
t>stnl>li*ih  thvi  '■trtiut',  thus:  -That  thf  SpU  is  uu  pulily 
without  )>n«t'<,  is  uot    Ot>|H>iKlput  w\  mtothfi,    uuU  1!$  iuuuu. 

414  THE  bhagavad-gIta.  [Dis.  XVIII. 

table,  is  the  royal  road  (i.  c.  is  undisputed).  Even  if  it  be 
admitted  that  the  Self  is  subject  to  change,  He  should 
only  be  subject  to  a  change  of  His  own  ;  the  actions  of  the 
body,  &c.,  can  never  be  attributed  to  the  agency  of  the  Self. 
Indeed,  the  action  of  one  cannot  go  to  another  that  has  not 
done  it.  And  what  is  attributed  to  the  Self  by  avidya  can- 
not really  pertain  to  Him,  in  the  same  way  that  the  mother- 
of-pearl  cannot  become  silver,  or  (to  take  another  illustra- 
tion) in  the  same  way  that  surface  and  dirt  ascribed  by 
children  through  ignorance  to  akasa  cannot  really  pertain 
to  akiisa.  Accordingly,  any  changes  that  may  take  place  in 
y  the  body,  &c.,  belong  to  them  only,  not  to  the  Self.  Where- 
fore, it  is  but  right  to  say  that  in  the  absence  of  egotism 
and  of  all  taint  in  the  mind,  the  wise  man  neither  kills  nor 
is  bound. 

Having  started  this  proposition  in  the  words  "  he  slays 
not,  nor  is  he  slain"  (ii.  19),  having  stated  in  ii.  20  as  the 
reason  theretor  the  immutability  of  the  Self,  having  in  the 
beginning  of  the  sastra  (ii.  21)  briefly  taught  that  to  a  wise 
man  there  is  no  need  for  works,  and  having  introduced  the 
subject  here  and  there  in  the  middle  and  expatiated  upon 
it,  the  Lord  now  concludes  it  in  the  words  that  the  wise 
man  "  kills  not,  nor  is  he  bound,"  with  a  view  to  sum  up 
the  teaching  of  the  sastra.  Thus  in  the  absence  of  the 
egotistic  feeling  of  embodied  existence,  the  sawmyasins 
renounce  all  avidya-generated  action,  and  it  is  therefore 
right  to  say  that  the  threefold  fruit  of  action  "  evil,  good 
and  mixed"  (xviii.  12J,  does  not  accrue  to  the  sawnyasins  ; 
and  the  further  conclusion  also  is  inevitable  that  quite  the 
reverse  is  the  lot  of  others.  This  teaching  of  the  Gita- 
s^stra  has  been  concluded  here.     To  show  that  this  essence 


17-18.]  CONCLUSION.  415 

of  the  whole  Vedic  Teaching  should  be  investigated  and 
understood  by  wise  men  of  trained  intelligence,  it  has  been 
expounded  by  us  here  and  there  in  several  sections  in 
accordance  with  the  Scripture  (sastra)  and  reason. 

The  impulses    to  action. 

Now  will  be  mentioned  the  impulses  to  action  : 

iS.  Knowledge,  the  object  known,  the  knower, 
(form)  the  threefold  impulse  to  action  ;  the  organ, 
the  end,  the  agent,  form  the  threefold  basis  of 

Knowledge  :  any  knowledge,  knowledge  in  general.  Simi- 
larly the  object  kmuni  refers  to  objects  in  general,  to  all 
objects  of  knowledge.  The  hioivey  :  the  experiencer,  partak- 
ing of  the  nature  of  the  upadhi,  a  creature  of  avidya.  This 
triad  forms  the  threefold  impulse  to  all  action,  to  action  in 
general.  Indeed,  performance  of  action  with  a  view  to 
avoid  a  thing  or  to  obtain  another  and  so  on  is  possible 
only  when  there  is  a  conjunction  of  the  three, — knowledge, 
etc.  The  actions  accomplished  by  the  five  (causes  of  ac- 
tion),— by  the  body,  &c., — and  grouped  into  three  classes 
according  to  their  respective  seats — speech,  mind,  body, 
— are  all  traceable  to  the  interplay  of  the  organ,  &c, ;  and 
this  is  taught  in  the  second  part  of  the  verse.  The  organ  : 
that  by  which  something  is  done  ;  the  external  organs  being 
the  organ  of  hearing,  &c.,  and  the  internal  organs  being 
buddhi  (intelligence),  &c.  The  end  :  that  which  is  sought 
for,  that  which  is  reached  through  action  by  the  agent.  The 
agent  :  he  who  sets  the  organs  going,  partaking  of  the  nature 
of   the  upadhi    (in   which   he   works).     In  these  three  all 


action   inheres,    and   they   are   therefore   said   to  form  the 
threefold  basis  of  action. 

The  Impulses  are  threefold  according  to  the  gunas. 

Inasmuch  as  action,  the  several  factors  of  action,  and 
the  fruit,  are  all  made  up  of  the  gu;;as,  the  Lord  now  pro- 
ceeds to  teach  the  threefold  distinction  of  each,  according 
to  the  three  distinct  gu;/as,  Sattva,  Rajas  and  Tamas  : 

ig.  Knowledge  and  action,  and  the  agent,  are 
said  in  the  science  of  the  guwas  to  be  of  three 
kinds  only,  according  to  the  distinction  in  guwas. 
Hear  thou  duly  of  them. 

Action  (ka.Tc ma.)  :  'karma'  here  means  action  (kriya).  It 
is  not  used  in  the  technical  sense  of  the  word  denoting  the 
object  of  an  action,  what  is  sought  to  be  attained  by  means 
of  action.  Agent :  the  performer  of  acts.  They  are  of  three 
kinds  only. — This  restriction  is  intended  to  imply  the  ab- 
sence of  distinctions  other  than  that  caused  by  the  gu/^as. — 
Gunas :  such  as  Sattva.  The  science  of  the  gunas  here  re- 
ferred to  is  Kapila's  system  of  philosophy. — Even  Kapilas 
science  of  gu»as  is  certainly  an  authority  so  far  as  it  con- 
cerns the  gu-'ias  and  their  experiencer  (bhoktn).  Though 
they  are  opposed  to  us  as  regards  the  supreme  truth, 
viz.,  the  oneness  or  non-duality  of  Brahman,  still  the 
followers  of  Kapila  are  of  acknowledged  authority  in  the 
exposition  of  the  functions  of  the  gu;ias  and  of  their  products, 
and  their  science  is  therefore  accepted  here  as  an  authori- 
ty as  serving  to  extrol  the  teaching  which  follows.  Hence 
no  inconsistency.  Hear,  &=€ :  Pay  attention  to  the  teaching 
which  follows  here,  concerning  knowledge  and  the  rest,  as 
well  as  their  various  distinctions  caused  by  different   gu»as, 

l8-22.]  CONCLUSION.  4I7 

as  I  describe  them  duly,  according  to  the  science,  according 
to  reason. 

Sattvic  Knowledge. 

Here  follows  the  threefold  character  of  knowledge  : 

20.  That  by  which  a  man  sees  the  one  Indes- 
tructible Reality  in  all  beings,  inseparate  in  the 
separated, — that  knowledge  know  thou  as  Sattvic. 

Reality  (Bhava)  :  the  one  Self.  Indestructible  :  which  can- 
not be  exhausted  either  in  itself  or  in  its  properties  ;  Ku^a- 
stha  or  immutable.  All  beings:  from  Avyakta,  or  the 
unmanifested  matter,  down  to  the  sthavara  or  unmoving 
objects.  That  Reality,  the  Self,  is  not  different  in  different 
bodies ;  like  the  akasa,  the  Self  admits  of  no  division.  Know 
thou  this  direct  and  right  perception  of  the  non-dual  Self  as 

Rajasic  Knowledge. 

The  dualistic  fallacious  systems  of  philosophy  are  Rajasic 
and  Tamasic,  and  therefore  they  cannot  directly  bring 
about  the  cessation  of  sawsara. 

21.  But  that  knowledge  which,  by  differentia- 
tion, sees  in  all  the  creatures  various  entities  of 
distinct  kinds,  that  knowledge  know  thou  as 

By  differentiation  :  regarding  them  as  different  in  different 
bodies.  Entities  :  Selfs.  Which  sees,  &c.  :  This  should  be 
interpreted  to  mean  '  by  which  one  sees,'  since  knowledge 
cannot  be  an  agent. 

Tamasic  Knowledge. 

i   sing 


22.     But  that  which  clings  to  one   single    effect 


as   if  it   were   all,    without  reason,  having  no  real 
object,  and  narrow,  that  is  declared  to  be  Tamasic. 

Tamasic  knowledge  is  engrossed  in  one  single  effect, — 
such  as  the  body  or  an  external  idol — as  though  it  is  all-com- 
prehensive, thinking  '  this  body  is  the  Self '  or  '  that  is 
God',  and  that  there  is  nothing  higher  than  that.  Jiva 
(soul),  for  example,  dwelling  in  the  body  is  regarded  by 
the  naked  5rama7?akas",  etc.,  as  being  of  the  size  of  that 
body  ;  and  the  Isvara  is  regarded  (by  some)  to  be  the  mere 
stone  or  piece  of  wood  f .  This  knowledge  is  not  founded  on 
reason  and  does  not  perceive  things  as  they  are.  Because 
it  is  not  founded  on  reason,  it  is  narrow,  as  extending  over  a 
limited  area,  or  as  producing  very  small  results.  This 
knowledge  is  said  to  be  Tamasic,  because  it  is  found  only 
in  Tamasic  beings  possessing  no  faculty  of  discrimination. 

5attvic  Action. 

The  threefold  nature  of  action  is  next  described  : 

23.  An  action  which  is  ordained,  which  is  free 
from  attachment,  which  is  done  without  love  or 
hatred  by  one  not  desirous  of  the  fruit,  that  action 
is  declared  to  be  Sattvic. 

Ordained  :  Obligatory  (nitya).     It  is    not  an    action  done 
by  one  impelled  by  love  or  hatred. 

Rajasic  Action. 

24.  But  the  action  which  is  done  by  one  long- 
ing for  pleasures  or  done  by  the  egotistic,  costing 
much  trouble,  that  is  declared ito  be  Rajasic. 

*  The  Jains.  Some  MSS.    read  Ksha-  \  The  material  of  which  the  image  is 

panakas.  made. 

22-26.]  CONCLUSION.  419 

Pleasures  :  as  fruits  of  action.  The  Egotistic  :  not  as  dis- 
tinguished from  one  who  has  reaHsed  the  true  nature  of  the 
Self  (who  is  absokiteiy  free  from  egotism),  but  as  distin- 
guished from  one  who  is  free  from  pride,  in  the  sense  in 
which  an  ordinary  srotriya  (a  devotee  of  the  Vedic  Religion) 
of  the  world  is  expected  to  be  free  from  egotism.  For, 
he  who  is  absolutely  without  egotism,  i.e.,  one  who  has  rea- 
lised the  Self,  cannot  even  be  imagined  to  long  for  the  fruit 
ot  an  action  or  to  do  an  action  costing  much  trouble.  Even 
the  doer  of  a  Sattvic  action  is  ignorant  of  the  Self  and  is 
egotistic  ;  much  more  so  are  the  Rajasic  and  Tiimasic 
doers.  In  common  parlance,  a  srotriya  who  is  ignorant  of 
the  Self  is  said  to  be  free  from  egotism  ;  we  say  "  He  is  a 
modest  (unegotistic)  brahma,';a."  It  is  only  from  this  class 
of  persons  that  the  doer  of  a  Rajasic  action  is  distinguished 
as  being  egotistic. 

Tamasic  Action. 

25.  The  action  which  is  undertaken  from  delu- 
sion, without  regarding  the  consequence,  loss, 
injury,  and  ability,  that  is  declared  to  be  Tamasic. 

Loss  :  Loss  of  power  and  of  wealth  accruing  from  the 
action  done.  Injury  :  to  living  beings.  Ability  :  one's  own 
ability  to  complete  the  work. 

Sattvic  Agent. 

Now  the  Lord  proceeds  to  treat  of  the  distinction  among 
agents  : 

26.  Free  from  attachment,  not  given  to  ego- 
tism, endued  with  firmness  and  vigour,  unaffected 
in  success  and  failure,  an  agent  is  said  to  be 

.|SO  THi:   BSAGaTJLD-GfKL.  Ths.  XAIII. 

S&  -iEDBKat  oc  the  xrak    ot  d>e  actkn  done. 

Uasffjz^  :  ^js  321:^^  beesa  iffiipellled  to  act    mariy  by  the 
vas^uxjstf  o^  tlie  ssistxaiv  not  by  a.  desire  for  tbefinoots. 


one's   :^z 


r::^    ims 

pc:  : 


:  is  der> 

:  is  D0>: 


2j.  Pas^ooaxe,  «iesaxiE^  to  aixaiQ  the  trait  cf 
acticMi,  grBedy,  cxoel,  inqpare,  sabfect  to  joj  and 
sanow.  scrV.  2.r     :     :  is  said  to  be  Rlyask:. 

r's  praiMity,  ml  gHii^  away 

jOfflrSs.  Jbc  Cmd :  doa^ 

esxennal    and  1«iiIm^ 

:  ttejoif  jBg  OP    tfae  attain- 

-  :Mtj  cm  the  attain- 

^  w'ilh  what  is 
e^ss  or  fuhne 

:    A^ent 

j^  Unsteadv,  va%ar,  anbeandii^.  deceptiv!^ 
vicked.  iodoleat.  de:qioiidii^  aadpiocTastinating. 
f  sodi)  an  a^ent  is  said  to  be  Timasic. 

Fa^iBr :  qoite  iiaciikaEed  id  wnfffflert  (baddU^  «te  is 
Be  a  dald.  Umkmiih^ '.  sot  bovioi^  iibe  a  stick  to 
aaybodf .  liitsxf&m  z  iiumxmEb^  Ins  real  power.  Wadbed  z 
aaitiag  otbexs  at  vaiiapue  viilt  eacb  other,  /adnfarf  :  cot 
itwii^  IT! 111!  nrfiiT  oo^^hlt  to  be  doae.  Lkifmdi^  z  always 
depiressed  ia  sfKtii.  PtaamiiaMa^  z  fiosttpaan^  doties  too 
ksag,  alwajs  sh^^[isla.  Kit  daaat^  ensa  m  a  wnoBlh  what 
OB^^  m  be  doae  to-day  or  to-manow. 

26-30.]  CONCLUSION.  421 

Intellect  and  Firmness  are  threefold  according  to 


29.  The  threefold  division  of  intellect  and 
firmness  according  to  qualities,  about  to  be  taught 
fully  and  distinctively  (by  Me),  hear  thou,  O  Dha- 

Qualities  :  Gu;?as,  such  as  Sattva.  The  first  half  of  the 
verse  contains  in  an  aphoristic  form  what  is  going  to  be 
taught.  D//a;w/{/'rtjj'^  :  the  conqueror  of  wealth.  Arjuna  is 
so  called  because  he  acquired  much  wealth, — human  and 
divine,  material  and  spiritual, — durmg  his  tour  of  conquest 
through  the  four  quarters  of  the  earth. 

Sattvic  Intellect. 

30.  That  which  knows  action  and  inaction, 
what  ought  to  be  done  and  what  ought  not  to  be 
done,  fear  and  absence  of  fear,  bondage  and  libera- 
tion, that  intellect  is  Sattvic,  O  Partha. 

Action  (pravntti):  the  cause  of  bondage,  the  karma- 
marga,  the  path  of  action  as  taught  in  the  sastra.  Inaction 
(nivntti)  :  the  cause  of  liberation,  the  path  of  sawnyasa. — 
As  '  action  '  (  pravritti )  and  '  inaction  '  (nivntti)  occur 
in  connection  with  '  bondage'  (bandha)  and  '  liberation' 
(moksha),  they  have  been  interpreted  to  mean  the  paths  of 
action  and  renunciation  (karma  and  sawmyasa).  What... 
done  :  the  necessity  for  doing  or  not  doing — by  one  who  relies 
on  the  sastra — at  particular  places  and  times,  actions  pro- 
ducing visible  or  invisible  results,  according  as  they  are 
enjoined  or  prohibited  by  the  scriptural  or  social  ethics. 
Fear  etc.  :  the  cause  of  fear   and   the   cause  of  fearlessness, 


either  visible  or  invisible.  Bondage  and  libemiion  :  together 
with  their  causes.  Knowledge  is  a  v^itti  or  function  or  state 
of  intellect  (buddhi),  whereas  intellect  is  what  functions   or 

undergoes  change  of  state.  *  Even  firmness  (dhriti)  is  only  a 
particular  function  or  state  of  intellect. 

Rajasic  Intellect. 

31.  That  by  which  one  wrongly  understands 
dharma  and  a-dharma,  and  also  what  ought  to  be 
done  and  what  ought  not  to  be  done,  that  intellect, 
O  Partha,  is  Rajasic. 

Dharma  is  what  is  ordained  in  the  scriptures  and  a-dharma 
is  what  is  prohibited  in  them.  W hat... done  :  the  same  th3.t 
was  mentioned  already.  (xviii.3o).t  Wrongly  :  in  opposition 
to  what  is  determined  by  all  (authorities). 

Tamasic  Intellect. 

32.  That  which,  enveloped  in  darkness,  sees 
adharma  as  dharma  and  all  things  perverted,  that 
intellect,  O  Partha,  is  Tamasic. 

It  takes  quite  a  perverted  view  of  all  things  to  be  known. 

5attvic    Firmness. 

33.  The  firmness  which  is  ever  accompanied  by 
Yoga,  and  by  which    the   activities  of  thought,  of 

*  This  is  to  show  how  the  knowledge  of  refer  to  the   '  apurva  '  i.e.,  the  forms 

(jnana)  whose   threefold  nature  has  been  which   actions  assume    after  their  per- 

described  ahready  (xviii.  20-22)   is  differ-  formance  till   their   eflects  become   per- 

ent   from   the  intellect   (buddhi)   whose  ceptible;  whereas  karya  and  a-karya  refer 

threefold  nature  is  here  described.-A.  to  t)j.e  performance  or  the  non-perform- 

t  Dharma  and  a-dharma  here  spoken  ance  of  the  acts.  Hence  no  tautology. — A. 

30-35-]  CONCLUSION.  423 

life-breaths  and  sense-organs,  O  Partha,  are   held 
fast,  such  a  firmness  is  Sattvic. 

Yoga  :  samadhi  or  concentration  of  mind.  Held  fast : 
restrained  from  rushing  into  ways  which  are  opposed  to  the 
sastra.  It  is  only  Avhen  they  are  restrained  by  firmness  (of 
the  intellect)  that  they  do  not  rush  into  ways  which  are 
opposed  to  the  sastra.  The  meaning  of  the  passage  is  this  : 
He  who,  by  unflinching  firmness,  restrains  the  activities 
of  thought(manas),  of  life-breaths  and  sense-organs,  restrains 
them  by  Yoga.  * 

Rajasic  Firmness. 

34.  But  the  firmness  with  which  one  holds  fast 
to  dharma  and  pleasures  and  wealth,  desirous  of 
the  fruit  of  each  on  its  occasion,  that  firmness,  O 
Partha,  is  Rajasic. 

Dharma  &c.  :  when  a  person  is  firmly  convinced  at  heart 
that  dharma,  pleasure  and  wealth  ought  always  to  be  secur- 
ed and  is  desirous  of  the  fruit  of  each  whenever  that  one 
(dharma  or  pleasure  or  wealth)  occupies  his  attention,  the 
firmness  of  such  a  person  is  Rajasic. 

Tamasic   Firmness. 

35.  That  with  which  a  stupid  man  does  not 
give  up  sleep,  fear,  grief,  depression  and  lust,  that 
firmness,  O  Partha,  is  Tamasic. 

The   stupid     man     holds   sensual   gratification    in    high 

*  That  is  to  say,  one  can  restrain  these  By  mere  firmness,  which  is  not  so  accom- 

activities  by  that  firmness  only  which   is  panied  by  samadhi,  one  cannot  invariably 

ever  accompanied   by   samadhi,   by  con-  restrain  them. — A. 
centration    of    mind   in  the    Brahman. 


esteem  and  never  gives  up  lasciviousness.  He  regards  sleep, 
etc.,  as  things  that  ought  always  to  be  resorted  to. 

Pleasure  is  threefold  according  to  gunas. 

The  threefold  division  of  actions  and  of  the  several  factors 
(karakas)  concerned  in  action,  has  been  described.  Here 
follows  the  threefold  division  of  pleasure  which  is  the  effect 
of  actions : 

36.  And  now  hear  from  Me,  O  lord  of  the 
Bharatas,  of  the  threefold  pleasure,  in  which  one 
delights  by  practice  and  surely  comes  to  the  end 
of  pain"^. 

Hear  :  Pay  steady  attention  to.  Practice :  familiarity, 
frequency.     The  end  :  cessation  or  alleviation. 

Sattvic  Pleasure. 

37.  That  which  is  like  poison  at  first,  like 
nectar  at  the  end,  that  pleasure  is  declared  to  be 
Sattvic,  born  of  the  purity  of  one's  own  mind. 

Like  poison  at  Jirst :  on  its  first  occurrence  it  is  attended 
with  pain  as  it  is  preceded  by  much  trouble  in  the  acquisition 
of  juana  or  spiritual  knowledge,  of  vairagya  or  indifference 
to  worldly  objects,  of  dhyana  and  samadhi.  At  the  end, 
the  pleasure  is  like  nectar,  arising  from  mature  knowledge 
and  indifference  to  external  objects.  Declared  :  by  the  wise. 
Born,  etc  :  born  of  the  purity  of  one's  own  buddhi  or  anta/i- 
kara;ja  ;  or,  born  of  the  perfectly  clear  knowledge  of  the  Self. 
Being  so  born,  the  pleasure  is  Sattvic. 

*   The    second    half   of  this   verse   is  not    make    it    clear  how  it    should    bp 

construed  by  other  commentators,    such  construed,  I  have,  following  Anandagiri, 

as  Sridhara  and   Madhusudana,  with  the  made  the   whole   verse  appear   to   be   a 

next  verse.    Though   the  bhashya  does  description  of  the  threefold  pleasure — Tr. 

35-41]  CONCLUSION.  425 

Rajasic  Pleasure. 

38.  That  pleasure  which  arises  from  the  contact 
of  the  sense-organ  with  the  object,  at  first  Hke 
nectar,  in  the  end  Hke  poison,  that  is  declared  to 
be  Rajasic. 

In  the  end  like  poison :  after  indulgence,  the  (sensual) 
pleasure  proves  to  be  like  poison,  because  it  leads  to 
deterioration  in  strength,  vigour,  colour,  wisdom,  intellect, 
wealth  and  energy  ;  and  because  it  leads  to  a-dharma,  and, 
as  an  effect  thereof,  to  hell  (naraka). 

Tamasic    Pleasure. 

39.  The  pleasure  which  at  first  and  in  the  sequel 
is  delusive  of  the  self,  arising  from  sleep,  indolence, 
and  heedlessness,  that  pleasure  is  declared  to  be 

In  the  sequel :  after  the  termination. 

No  man  or  god  is  free  from  gunas. 

Here    follows   the   verse   which    concludes   the   present 
subject : 

40.  There  is  no  being  on  earth,  or  again  in 
heaven  among  the  Devas,  that  can  be  free  from 
these  three  gu«as  born  of  Prakriti. 

Being :  animate  or  inanimate.  Gunas  :  such  as  Sattva. 
On  cavth  :  among  men. 

The  sequel  sums  up  the  whole  Doctrine. 

The  whole  sawsara,  manifested  as  action,  instruments  of 
action,  and  results,  made  up  of  the  gu«as   (Sattva,    Rajas, 




and  Tamas),  and  set  up  by  avidya, — the  evil  of  sa;/zsara 
has  been  thus  described  as  well  as  its  root.  It  has  also 
been  figuratively  represented  as  a  tree,  in  xv.  i,  et  seq. 
It  has  also  been  said  that  after  having  cut  the  tree  of 
sa;;/sara  asunder  Vv-ith  the  strong  sword  of  non-attachment, 
"then  That  Goal  should  be  sought  after  "  (xv.  3,  4).  From 
this  it  may  follow  that,  as  everything  is  made  up  of  the 
three  gu7;as,  a  cessation  of  the  cause  of  sa/wsara  cannot  be 
brought  about.  Now,  it  is  with  a  view  to  show  how  its 
cessation  can  be  brought  about,  with  a  view,  further,  to 
sum  up  the  whole  teaching  of  the  Gita-sastra,  and  with  a 
view  to  show  what  the  exact  teaching  of  the  Vedas  and  the 
smntis  is  which  should  be  followed  by  those  who  seek  to 
attain  the  highest  end  of  man, — it  is  with  this  view  that 
the  next  section,  from  xviii.  41  onward,  is  commenced. 

Duties  of  the  four  castes  ordained 
according-  to  nature. 

41.  Of  Brahma7ias  and  Kshatriyas  and  Vaisyas, 
as  also  of  Sudras,  O  Parantapa,  the  duties  are 
divided  according  to  the  qualities  born  of  nature. 

5udras  are  separated  from  others — who  are  all  men- 
tioned together  in  one  compound  word— because  5udras 
are  of  one  birth  and  are  debarred  from  the  study  of  the 
Vedas.  Divided :  the  duties  are  allotted  to  each  class,  as 
distinguished  from  those  pertaining  to  the  other  classes. — 
By  what  standard  ? — -According  to  the  qualities  (gu?ias)  born 
of  nature.  Nature  (svabhava)  is  the  Isvara's  Praknti,  the 
^  Maya  made  up  of  the  three  gu;2as.  It  is  in  accordance  with 
the  gu?;as  of  the  Praknti  that  duties — such  as  serenity  and 
the  like — are  assigned  to  the  Brahma;zas,  etc.  respectively. 

41.]  CONCLUSION.  427 

Or  to  explain  in  another  way  :  The  source  of  the  Brrih- 
niawa's  nature  (svabhava)  is  the  gu//a  of  Sattva  ;  the  source 
of  the  Kshatriya's  nature  is  Rajas  and  Sattva,  the  latter 
being  subordinate  to  the  former  ;  the  source  of  the  Vaisya's 
nature  is  Rajas  and  Tamas,  the  latter  being  subordinate  to 
the  former  ;  the  source  of  the  Sudra's  nature  is  Tamas  and 
Rajas,  the  latter  being  subordinate  to  the  former.  For,  as 
we  see,  the  characteristic  features  of  their  nature  are 
serenity,  lordliness,  activity,  and  dullness  respectively. 

Or  to  interpret  yet  in  another  way  : — Nature  (svabhava) 
is  the  tendency  (Sa/ziskara,  Vasana)  in  living  beings  acquired 
by  them  in  the  past  births,  and  manifesting  itself  in  the 
present  birth  by  way  of  being  ready  to  yield  its  effects  : 
and  this  nature  is  the  source  of  thegu»as,  it  being  impossible  '/ 
for  the  gu«as  to  manifest  themselves  without  a  cause.  The 
assertion  that  nature  (Sawskara,  Vasana)  is  the  cause  (of 
the  gu;ias)  means  that  it  is  a  kind  of  specific  cause. '■'  The 
duties,  such  as  serenity,  are  assigned  to  the  four  classes  in 
accordance  with  the  guz/as  of  Sattva,  Rajas  and  Tamas, 
which  are  brought  into  manifestation  by  their  respective 
natural  tendencies,  and  which  lead  to  those  duties  as  their 
natural  effects. 

(Objection)  : —  The  duties  of  Brahmauas,  S:c.,  are  enjoined 
by  the  sastra  and  are  assigned  to  them  by  the  sastra.  How 
then  can  it  be  said  that  they  are  divided  according  to  the 
Sattva  and  other  gu/zas  ? 

[Answer)  : — There  is  no  room  here  for  any  such  objection. 
By  the   sastra,    too,    are   the   duties — such    as    serenity — 

*  Ximitta-karan.i  or  secondary  cause,       material    cause    of  the  gu;ias,    namely, 
as  opposed   to    the    Upadana-karana  or       Prakriti.— A. 


assigned  to  the  Brahma//as,  &c.,  only  in  accordance  with 
their  respective  gu-vas,  such  as  Sattva,  but  not  independently 
of  them.  Wherefore  it  is  said  that  duties  are  assigned 
according  to  gunas,  though  it  has  also  been  said  that  they 
are  assigned  by  the  sastra. 

What  then  are  those  duties  ? — The  answer  follows  : 

42.  Serenity,  self-restraint,  austerity,  purity, 
forgiveness,  and  also  uprightness,  knowledge, 
wisdom,  faith, — these  are  the  duties  of  the  Brah- 
ma7zas,  born  of  nature. 

'Serenity'  and  'self-restraint'  have  already  been  explained 
(xvi.  I,  2).  Aiisteyity:  physical  austerity,  and  so  on, 
mentioned  above  (  xvii.  14,  15,  16).  Ptirity  :  already  ex- 
plained. Faith  :  in  the  teaching  of  the  scriptures.  Born  of 
natuve :  this  means  the  same  here  as  in  the  latter  portion  of 
xviii.  41. 

43.  Bravery,  boldness,  fortitude,  promptness, 
not  flying  from  battle,  generosity  and  lordliness 
are  the  duties  of  the   Kshatrij'as,  born   of  nature. 

Fortitude  :  that  by  which  upheld  one  is  not  subject  to  de- 
pression under  any  circumstances  whatever.  Promptness  : 
the  performing,  without  confusion,  of  duties  which  present 
themselves  quite  unexpectedly  and  demand  ready  action.  / 
Not  flying  from  battle :  not  turning  away  from  the  foes. 
Lordliness  :  exercise  of  ruling  power  over  those  who  are  to 
be  ruled. 

44.  Ploughing,  cattle-rearing,  and  trade  are  the 
duties  of  the  Vaisyas,   born  of  nature.     And  of  the 

4I-45']  CONCLUSION.  429 

nature  of  service  is  the  duty  of  the  Sudra,  born  of 

Devotion  to  one's  own  duty  leads  to  perfection. 

These  duties,  respectively  enjoined  on  the  several  castes, 
lead,  when  rightly  performed,  to  Svarga  as  their  natural 
result,  as  stated  in  the  smritis,  such  as  the  following  :  "Men 
of  several  castes  and  orders,  each  devoted  to  his  respective 
duties,  reap  the  fruits  of  their  actions  after  death,  and  then 
by  the  residual  (karma)  attain  to  births  in  superior  countries, 
castes  and  families,  possessed  of  comparatively  superior 
dharma,  span  of  life,  learning,  conduct,  wealth,  happiness 
and  intelligence.  "  (  Apastamba-Dharmasutra,  2-2-2,  3  ). 
And  in  the  Pura/^a  also  are  specified  the  different  results 
and  worlds  which  the  several  castes  and  orders  attain. 
But,  from  the  operation  of  a  new  cause  -■'•  the  following  result 
accrues : 

45.  Devoted  each  to  his  own  duty,  man  attains 
perfection  ;  how  one,  devoted  to  one's  own  duty, 
attains  success,  that  do  thou  hear. 

Each  to  his  oivn  duty  :  as  ordained  according  to  his  nature. 
Man :  he  who  is  qualified  (for  Karma- Yoga).  Perfection 
(sa;«siddhi)  :  which  consists  in  the  body  and  senses  being 
qualified  for  the  devotion  of  knowledge  (juana-nish^ha)  after 
all  their  impurities  have  been  washed  away  by  the  per- 
formance of  one's  own  duty. — Can  this  perfection  be  attain- 
ed directly  by  the  mere  performance  of  one's  own  dutyf  ? — 

♦  That  is,  when  the  same  duties  are  +  The     questioner    understands  '  per- 

performed,    not   for  the  sake     of  their  faction' in  the  sense  of  absolute  perfection 

immediate  results,  but  for  the  sake  of  i.e.,  Moksha.  It  is,  of  course,  impossible 

Moksha. — A,  to  attain  Moksha  by  works  alone. — A. 


No. — How  then  ? — Learn  how  it  can  be  attained  : 

46.  Him   from  whom   is  the  evolution   of  (all) 

beings,  by  whom  all  this  is  pervaded, — by  worship- 
ping Him  with  his  proper  duty,  man  attains 

'  Pravntti '  ( in  the  text )  may  mean  either  evolution  or 
activity;  and  it  proceeds  from  the  Isvara,  the  Antaryamin, 
the  Ruler  within.  Beings  :  living  creatures.  His  proper  duty: 
each  according  to  his  caste,  as  described  above.  Worship- 
ping the  Lord  by  performing  his  duty,  man  attains  perfec- 
tion, in  so  far  only  as  he  becomes  qualified  for  the  devotion 
of  knowledge  (juana-nishfha). 

Such  being  the  case,   therefore, 

47.  Better  is  one's  own  duty  (though)  destitute 
of  merits,  t^ian  the  duty  of  another  well  performed. 
Doing  the  duty  ordained  according  to  nature,  one 
incurs  no  sin. 

Just  as  a  poisonous  substance  does  not  injure  the  worm 
born  in  that  substance,  so,  he  who  does  the  duty  ordained 
according  to  his  own  nature  incurs  no  sin. 


One  ought  not  to  abandon  one's  own  duty. 

It  has  been  said  that  he  who  does  the  duty  ordained 
according  to  his  nature  incurs  no  sin  like  a  worm  born  in 
poison,  that  the  duty  of  another  brings  on  fear,  and  that  he 
who  does  not  know  the  Self  cannot  indeed  remain  even  for 
a  moment  without  doing  action.     Wherefore, 

48.  The  duty  born  with  oneself,  O  son  of  Kunti, 
though  faulty,  one  ought  not  to  abandon  ;  for,  all 

46-48.]  CONXLUSION.  431 

undertakings   are   surrounded   with    evil,     as   fire 
with  smoke. 

Born  with  oneself:  born  with  the  very  birth  of  man. 
Faulty  :  as  everything  is  composed  of  the  three  gu/;as.  AH 
nndevtakings :  whatever  the  duties  are;  by  context,  one's 
own  as  well  as  other's  duties  ;  for,  the  reason  here  assigned 
is  that  they  are  all  made  up  of  the  three  gu«as. 

Though  a  man  may  perform  another's  duty,  abandoning 
what  is  called  his  own  duty,  the  duty  born  with  himself,  he 
is  not  free  from  fault ;  and  another's  duty  brings  on  fear.'" 
And  since  it  is  not  possible  for  any  man  who  does  not  know 
the  Self  to  give  up  action  entirely,  therefore  he  ought  not 
to  abandon  action  (karma). 

Is  entire  renunciation  of  action  possible  ? 

(Now,  let  us  enquire)  :  Is  it  because  of  the  impossibility 
of  entire  abandonment  of  action  that  no  one  ought  to  re- 
nounce one's  own  ( nature-born )  duty,  or  is  it  because 
some  sin  f  accrues  from  the  abandoning  of  the  duty  born 
with  oneself? 

{Question) : — Now,  of  what  good  is  this  enquiry  ? 

(Ansicer)  : — In  the  first  place,  if  the  duty  born  with  one- 
self ought  not  to  be  abandoned  (merely)  because  of  the 
impossibility  of  renouncing  action  entirely,  then  it  would 
follow  that  there  can  be  nothing  but  merit  in  renouncing 
it  entirely. 

*    Therefore,    it    is    not  right    to   do       neglect  of  the  duty  enjoined  in  the  sruti 
another's  duty.— A.  as  obligatory.— A. 

f  The  sin  (  pratyavaya)  arising  from  the 


The  Sankhya,  Buddhistic  and  Vaiseshika  theories. 

(  Objection  ) : — Yes  ;  but  an  entire  renunciation  is  not 
possible. — Is  the  soul  (Purusha)  always  mobile  like  the 
gu;fas  of  the  Sankhyas  ?  Or,  is  action  itself  the  actor  (soul), 
like  the  five  Skandhas  of  the  Buddhists,  undergoing 
destruction  every  moment  ?  In  either  case,  an  entire  renun- 
ciation of  action  is  impossible." 

Now  there  is  also  a  third  theory  : — When  the  thing  (soul) 
acts,  then  it  is  active ;  when  it  does  not  act,  then  it  is 
actionless.  Such  being  the  case,  it  is  possible  to  renounce 
action  entirely.  And  there  is  this  peculiarity  in  this  theory  : 
neither  is  the  thing  (soul)  ever  mobile,  nor  is  action  itself 
the  actor  ( the  soul )  ;  but  it  is  a  permanent  fixed  substance, 
wherein  action  which  was  non-existent  before  arises,  and 
wherein  action  which  has  been  existent  ceases  while  the 
substance  remains  pure  (actionless),  with  the  potentiality 
(of  the  activity)  in  it,  and  as  such  forms  the  actor. — Thus 
say  the  followers  of  Ka/!ada.  What  objection  is  there  to 
this  theory  ? 

Refutation  of  the  Vaiseshika  theory. 

[Answer)  : — There  is  certainly  this  objection,  that  it  is 
contrary  to  the  Lord's  teaching. — How  do  you  know  ? — 
For,  the  Lord  has  said  '  there  can  be  no  existence  of  the 
non-existent '  (ii.  i6)  and  so  on.  But  according  to  the 
followers  of  Ka/^ada,  the  non-existent  comes  into  existence, 
and  the  existent  becomes  non-existent.  Wherefore  their 
theory  is  contrary  to  the  Lord's  teaching. 

{Objection)  : —  How  can  it  be  objected  to  if  it  agrees  with 

*  Inasmuch  as  it  would  imply  that  the  soul  undergoes  change  in  its  very  nature, — A, 

48.]  CONCLUSION.  433 

reason,  though  it  may  be  opposed  to  the  Lord's  teaching  ? 
{Ansivcr)  : —  We  reply  : 

This  view  is  certainly  objectionable,  because  it  is  opposed 
to  all  evidence. — How  ? — If  a  dvya;mka  (an  aggregate  of 
two  atoms)  or  other  substance  is  absolutely  non-existent 
before  its  production,  and  if,  remaining  for  a  time  after 
production,  it  again  becomes  non-existent,  then  it  follows 
that  what  was  non-existent  becomes  existent,  and  v/hat  is 
existent  will  become  non-existent ;  that  non-entity  becomes 
an  entity  and  an  entity  becomes  non-entity.  In  that  case 
it  must  be  that  a  non-entity  ( abhava )  which  is  to  become 
an  entity  (bhava)  is  like  a  rabbit's  horn  before  becoming  an 
entity,  and  that  it  becomes  an  entity  by  the  action  of  the 
threefold  cause, — of  the  material,  the  non-material  or  acci- 
dental, and  the  efiicient  causes,  (samavayi-asamavayi-nimitta 
-kiira/zas).  Now,  it  is  not  possible  to  hold  (in  the  present 
case)that  a  non-entity  is  born  and  needs  a  cause  ;  for,  it  does 
not  apply  to  other  non-entities,  such  as  a  rabbit's  horn.  If 
a  pot  or  the  like,  which  is  to  be  produced  (as  an  effect),  be 
of  the  nature  of  an  entity,  then  we  can  understand  that 
when  it  is  to  be  produced  as  an  effect,  it  needs  a  cause  so 
far  merely  as  regards  its  manifestation. 

Moreover,  if  the  non-existent  should  become  existent  and 
the  existent  should  become  non-existent,  then  nobody  can 
be  certain  as  to  anything  whatsoever  in  matters  of  evidence 
and  things  ascertainable  by  evidence,  inasmuch  as  there 
can  be  no  certainty  that  the  existent  will  continue  to  be 
existent  and  the  non-existent  will  continue  to  be  non- 

Moreover,  when  they  (the  followers  of  Kaz/ada)  say  that 
a  dvya/mka  or  such  other  substance  is  produced  as  an  eflect, 



they  speak  of  it  as  connected  with  its  cause  and  as  existent. 
Having  been  non-existent  before  production,  it  becomes,  in 
virtue  of  the  operation  of  its  cause,  connected  with  that 
cause — the  ultimate  atoms — and  with  existence,  by  the  rela- 
tion known  as  samavaya,  i.  e.,  intimate  or  inseparable  rela- 
tion. When  (thus)related,  i.e.,  when  it  is  inseparably  connect- 
ed with  the  cause,  it  becomes  existent.  Here  they  may  be 
asked  to  explain  how  the  non-existent  can  have  a  cause  of 
its  own.  We  cannot  indeed  think  of  a  thing  which  can 
cause  the  birth  of  a  barren  woman's  son  or  his  relation  to 
anything  else. 

{Objection) : — The  Vaiseshikas  do  not  hold  that  the  non- 
existent is  related  to  anything.  It  is  substances,  such  as 
dvya;mkas,  that  are  said  to  be  intimately  related  to  their 

(Answer): — No;  because  they  are  not  supposed  to  exist 
prior  to  this  relation. — The  Vaiseshikas  do  not  argue  that 
a  pot  or  the  like  exists  prior  to  the  action  of  the  potter,  the 
potter's  stick  and  wheel.  Neither  do  they  hold  that  clay 
assumes  by  itself  the  form  of  a  pot.  Wherefore,  as  the  only 
other  alternative,  they  have  to  admit  that  the  non-existent 
(pot)  becomes  related  (to  the  cause). 

(Objection)  : — It  is  not  opposed  to  reason  to  hold  that, 
though  non-existent,  it  may  be  related  by  samavaya  or 
intimate  relation  (to  the  cause). 

(Ansmey)  : — Not  so;  for,  no  such  thing  can  be  admitted  in 
the  case  of  a  barren  woman's  son. — If  we  are  to  hold  that 
the  antecedent  non-existence  ( pragabhava )  of  a  pot  or  the 
like  becomes  related  to  the  cause,  but  not  the  barren 
woman's  son,  notwithstanding  that  both  are  alike  non- 
entities (abhava),  it  is  necessary  to  show  how  one  non-entity 
can  be  distinguished  from  the  other.     Non-existence  of  one, 

48.]  CONCLUSION.  435 

non-existence  of  two,  non-existence  of  all,  antecedent  non- 
existence (  pragabhiiva  ),  non-existence  after  destruction 
(pradhvaw/sabhava),  mutual  non-existence  (anyonyabhava) 
absolute  non-existence  (atyantabhava), — nobody  can  point 
out  any  definite  distinction  among  these  in  themselves.  In 
the  absence  of  a  distinction,  it  is  unreasonable  to  hold  that 
only  the  antecedent  non-existence  of  a  pot  becomes  a  pot 
through  the  action  of  a  potter,  &c.,  that  it  becomes  related 
to  a  cause  of  its  own,  viz.,  the  pot-shreds  which  are  exist- 
ent, that  when  thus  related  it  can  very  well  be  spoken  of 
as  being  produced  and  so  on,  but  that  such  is  not  the 
case  with  regard  to  the  non-existence  after  destruction 
(pradhvawsabhava)  of  the  same  pot,  though  both  alike  are 
non-existent.  It  is  unreasonable  to  hold  that  other  non- 
existences (abhavas),  such  as  non-existence  after  destruc- 
tion, can  never  become  (  an  existent  effect  )  and  so  on, 
whereas  antecedent  non-existence  alone,  such  as  that  of 
dvya?aika  and  the  like  substances,  can  become  (an  existent 
effect)  and  so  on,  though  it  is  an  abhava  or  non-existent 
quite  as  much  as  non-existence  after  destruction  or  absolute 

{Objection) : — We  do  not  hold  that  the  non-existent  be- 
comes the  existent. 

{Ansiver): — Then  the  existent  becomes  existent, — for 
instance,  a  pot  becomes  a  pot,  a  cloth  becomes  a  cloth. 
This,  too,  is  opposed  to  all  evidence,  like  the  theory  that 
non-existent  becomes  existent. 

Refutation  of  the  Parinama-Vada. 

As  the  Pari»ama  (transformation)  theory  of  the  SA,nkhyas, 
even  that  theory  does  not   differ   from   the   theory   of  the 



Vai^eshikas,  Inasmuch  as  it  postulates  the  production  of 
properties  non-existent  before,  as  well  as  their  destruction. 
Even  admitting  their  explanation  that  by  manifestation  or 
disappearance  (an  effect  is  said  to  come  into  existence  or 
undergo  destruction),  the  theory  is  all  the  same  opposed 
to  evidence,  as  may  be  found  if  we  enquire  whether  the 
manifestation  and  disappearance  are  previously  existent  or 

For  the  same  reason,  we  have  to  condemn  that  theory 
also  which  says  that  production,  etc.,  of  an  effect,  are  only 
different  states  of  the  cause  itself. 

The  Lord's  theory  of  illusion. 

■  As  the  only  other  alternative,  there  remains  this  theory, 
that  the  One  Existence,  the  sole  Reality,  is',  by  avidya, 
imagined  variously,  as  so  many  things  undergoing  produc- 
tion, destruction  and  the  like  changes,  like  an  actor  on  the 
stage.  This  doctrine  of  the  Lord  has  been  stated  in  ii.  16; 
the  consciousness  of  the  existent  (sat)  being  constant  and 
the  consciousness  of  all  the  rest  being  inconstant. 

The  enlightened  alone  can    renounce  action  entirely. 

{Objection): — Then,  the  Self  being  immutable,  where  is 
the  impossibility  of  renouncing  all  action  entirely  ? 

[Ansivey): — Action  is  the  property  or  attribute  of  the 
gu;;as,  be  they  regarded  as  real  things,  or  as  things  set  up 
by  avidya.  It  is  ascribed  to  the  Self  through  avidya,  and  it 
has  therefore  been  said  that  no  ignorant  man  (avidvan)  can 
renounce  action  entirely  even  for  a  moment  (iii.  5).  On  the 
other  hand,  he  who  knows  the  Self  is  able  to  renounce 
action  entirely,  inasmuch  as  avidya  has  been  expelled  by 
vidya  or  wisdom  ;  for,  there  can  be  no  residue  left  of  what 

48-49.]  CONCLUSION.  437 

is  ascribed  by  avidya.  Indeed,  no  residue  is  left  of  the  second 
moon  created  by  the  false  vision  of  the  ////u'm-atTected  eye, 
even  after  the  removal  of  timira.  Such  being  the  case,  the 
statements  contained  in  v.  13,  xviii.  45,  46  are  quite 

Perfection  in  Karma-Yoga  leads  to 
absolute  Perfection. 

It  has  been  said  that  the  perfection  reached  by  means  of 
Karma- Yoga  consists  in  becoming  qualified  for  j?/ana- 
nish/ha,  the  Path  of  Wisdom  ;  and  it  is  with  a  view  to 
describe,  as  the  fruit  thereof,  the  naishkarmyasiddhi, — perfec- 
tion in  the  form  of  absolute  freedom  from  action,  known  as 
j«ana-nish/h;\, — that  the  Lord  now  proceeds  to  teach  as 
follows  : 

49.  He  whose  reason  is  not  attached  anywhere, 
whose  self  is  subdued,  from  whom  desire  has  fled, 
he  by  renunciation  attains  the  supreme  state  of 
freedom  from  action. 

He  whose  reason  (buddhi,  anta/^-karaz/a)  is  free  from 
attachment  to  sons,  wife,  and  other  objects  of  attachment, 
whose  self  (antaZ;-kara»a)  is  brought  under  his  own  control,! 
from  whom  desire  for  the  body,  for  life,  and  for  pleasures 
has  fled, — a  person  of  this  sort  who  knows  the  Self  attains 
to  the  supreme  perfection,  to  absolute  freedom  from  action 
(naishkarmyasiddhi),  by  sawnyasa.  In  virtue  of  his  know- 
ledge of  the  unity  of  the  actionless  (nishkriya)  Brahman 
and  the  Self,  all  actions  have  fled  from  him.  This  is 
known  as  the  state  of  absolute  freedom  from  action  ;  and  it 
is  a  siddhi  or  pev^QCtiony^Naishkarmyasiddhi  may  also  mean 

438  THE    BHAGAVAD-GiTA.  [DiS.  XVIII. 

the  attainment  (siddhi)  of  naishkavjiiya,  the  state  in  which 
one  remains  as  the  actionless  Self.  It  is  supreme  as  dis- 
tinguished from  the  perfection  attainable  by  Karma- Yoga  ; 
it  is  the  state  of  immediate  liberation  (sadyo-mukti).  /This 
state  is  attained  by  sa?;myasa  or  right  knowledge, — or  better 
still,  by  the  renunciation  of  all  actions  for  which  one  is 
prepared  by  his  right  knowledge, /and  so  says  the  Lord 
in  V.  13. 

Now,  tbe  Lord  proceeds  to  teach  how  a  man  who,  having 
attained  perfection  (as  described  above  in  xviii.  46)  by 
performing  his  duty  (as  taught  above)  in  the  service  of  the 
Lord,  has  come  by  the  discriminative  knowledge  of  the 
Self,  can  attain  the  perfection  known  as  naishhavmya  or 
absolute  treedom  from  action,  i.  e.,  a  firm  unswerving  stand 
in  the  knowledge  of  the  pure  Self. 

50.  How  he  who  has  attained  perfection  reaches 
Brahman,  that  in  brief  do  thou  learn  from  Me, 
O  son  of  Kunti, — that  supreme  consummation  of 

The  perfection  he  has  already  attained  consists  in  the  body 
and  the  senses  being  prepared  for  devotion  to  knowledge,  as 
a  result  of  the  Grace  of  the  Lord  worshipped  through  his 
duty.  Reference  to  this  (perfection)  serves  as  a  prelude  to 
what  follows.  —  What  is  that  perfection  to  which  that 
reference  forms  a  prelude  ? — It  is  the  process  of  jnana- 
nish^ha,  or  devotion  to  knowledge,  by  which  he  attains 
Brahman,  the  Supreme  Self.  That  process,  the  way  to 
the  attainment  of  j/zana-nish/ha,  do  thou  understand  with 
certainty  from  my  speech. —  Is  it  to  be  described  at  length  ? 
— No,  says  the  Lord;  it  will  be  described  only  in  brief. 

49-50']  CONCLUSION.  439 

Absolute  perfection  is  the  consummation  of 

What  the  attainment  of  Brahman — referred  to  in  the 
words  "  how  he  reaches  Brahman,"  is,  the  Lord  proceeds 
to  specify  in  the  words  "  that  supreme  consummation  of 
knowledge."  Consummation  (nish/'ha)  means  perfection, 
the  final  or  highest  stage. 

*  {Question)  : — Consummation  of  what  ? 

(Answey)  : — Of  Brahma-juana  or  knowledge  of  Brahman. 

(Question)  :  —  Of  what  nature  is  the  consummation  of 
Brahma-juana  ? 

{Answey)  : —  Of  the  same  nature  as  Atmajuana  or  Self- 

{Question)  : —  Of  what  nature  is  the  Self-knowledge  ? 

(Anszi-ey)  : —  Of  the  same  nature  as  the  Self. 

{Question)  : —  Of  what  nature  is  the  Self  ? 

{Answey) : —  Of  the  nature  described  by  the  Lord  and  in 
the  passages  of  the  Upanishads,  and  (ascertainable)  by 
nyciya  or  reasoning  (upon  the  scriptural  texts). 

Is  Self-knowledge  possible  at  all  ? 

(Objection) : —  Knowledge  or  cognition  (juana)  is  of  the 
form  of  its  object.  But  it  is  nowhere  admitted  that  the  Self 
is  an  object  of  cognition  or  has  a  form. 

♦  The  following  discussion  in  the  form  ledge,  and  the  nature  of  the    Self  is  de- 

of  questions  and  answers  is  intended  to  fined  here  in  ii.  20  and  in  the  Upanishads; 

show  that  the  consummation  of  know-  and  it  can  also  be  ascertained  by  rea- 

ledge  is  a  well-defined  end  as  spoken    of  soning     upon     scriptural    texts,     which 

here.  It  is  the  consummation  of  Brahma-  describe  him  as  "devoid  of  attachment 

jnana  (knowledge  ot  Brahman).  Brahma-  and  immutable  ".—A. 
jnana  is  not  different  from  Self-know- 



(Answev) : —  The  Self  has  a  form,  as  taught  in  the  scrip- 
tural passages,  '  In  colour  like  the  sun  '  (Sve.  Up.  3-8) ; 
'  Luminous  in  form'  (Chha.  Up.  3-14-2) ;  '  Self-luminous' 
(Bn.  Up.  4-3-9)- 

(Objection)  : —  No  ;  those  passages  are  intended  to  remove 
the  idea  that  the  Self  is  of  the  nature  of  darkness  (Tamas). — 
When  the  Self  is  said  to  be  neither  of  the  form  of  a  sub- 
stance nor  of  an  attribute,  it  would  follow  that  the  Self 
is  of  the  nature  of  darkness  :  and  the  preventing  of  this 
idea  is  the  aim  of  the  descriptions  such  as  '  In  colour  like 
the  sun. '  Form  is  specifically  denied,  the  Self  being 
described  as  '  formless  '  (Kaifha-Up.  3-15).  Neither  is  the 
Self  an  object  of  cognition,  as  taught  in  passages  like  the 
following  :  "His  form  stands  not  in  (our)  ken,  nor  can  any 
one  see  Him  with  the  eye  "  (.Sve.  Up.  4-20) ;  "  Without 
sound  and  touch  "  ( Ka^ha-Up.  3-15).  Wherefore  it  is 
wrong  to  speak  of  a  cognition  of  the  form  of  the  Self. 

Such  being  the  case,  how  can  there  be  a  cognition  of  the 
Self?  Indeed,  all  cognition,  whatever  be  its  object,  is  of 
the  form  of  that  object.  And  it  has  been  said  that  the  Self 
is  formless.  If  both  the  Self  and  the  cognition  thereof  be 
formless,  how  is  the  constant  meditation  of  Self-knowledge 
or  the  consummation  thereof  to  be  attained  ? 

The  Self  reveals  Himself  in  Pure  Reason. 

(Ansti'ei')  :—  Do  not  think  so  ;  for,  it  can  be  shown  that 
the  Self  is  extremely  pure,  extremely  clear,  and  extremely 
subtle.  And  Buddhi  ( reason  )  being  as  pure,  etc.,  as  the 
Self,  it  can  put  on  the  semblance  of  that  aspect  of  the  Self 
which  is  manifested  as  consciousness.  Manas  puts  on  a 
semblance  of  Buddhi,  the  sense-organs  put  on  a  semblance 
of  Manas,  and  the  physical  body  again  puts  on  a  semblance 

5o]  CONCLUSION.  441 

of  the  sense-or;,'ans.  Wherefore  common  people  look 
upon  the  mere  physical  body  as  the  Self.  And  the  Loka- 
yatikas  (materialists)  who  argue  that  consciousness  is  a 
property  of  the  physical  body  declare  that  the  Purusha  or 
Soul  is  identical  with  the  physical  body  endued  with  con- 
sciousness. Similarly,  others  argue  that  consciousness  is 
a  property  of  the  senses ;  others  again  argue  that  con- 
sciousness is  a  property  of  Buddhi.  There  are  a  few 
who  hold  that  there  is  something  within  even  beyond  the 
Buddhi,  viz.,  the  Avyakta  (the  Unmanifested)  also  called 
the  Avyakrita  (the  UudifTerentiated),  in  the  form  of  Avidya; 
and  they  say  that  the  Avyaknta  is  the  Self.'''  Everywhere, 
from  Buddhi  down  to  the  physical  body,  the  cause  of 
illusory  identification  of  each  with  the  Self  is  its  wearing 
a  semblance  of  the  consciousness  of  the  Self ;  and  it  is 
therefore  unnecessary  to  impart  directly  a  knowledge  of  the 
Self. — What  then  is  necessary  ? — W'hat  is  necessary  is  the 
mere  elimination  of  the  not-Self  associated  with  the  Self, 
— names,  forms  and  the  like  ;  but  it  is  unnecessary  to  try 
and  teach  what  the  consciousness  of  the  Self  is  like,  inas- 
much as  it  is  invariably  comprehended  in  association  with 
all  objects  of  perception  which  are  set  up  by  avidya. 
Accordingly,  the  Vijfianavadins,  the  Buddhistic  Idealists, 
hold  that  there  is  nothing  real  except  ideas,  and  that  these 
ideas  require  no  external  evidence(to  prove  their  existence), 
inasmuch  as  it  is  admitted  that  they  are  self-cognized. 
Therefore/we  have  only  to  eliminate  what  is  falsely  ascribed  j 
to  Brahman  by  avidya  ;  we  have  to  make  no  more  effort  to  1 

*  Those  who  study  and  contemplate       the  Antaryimin,    the  Avyakiita  endued 
upou  the  Cause  of   the  universe  regard       With  cousciousness   as  the  Self.— A. 


442  THE  bhagavad-gIta.  [Dis.  XVIII. 

'  acquire  a  knowledge  of  Brahman  as  He  is  quite  self-evident. 
Though  thus  quite  self-evident,  easily  knowable,  quite  near, 
and  forming  the  very  Self,  Brahman  appears — to  the  unen- 
lightened, to  those  whose  reason  (Buddhi)  is  carried  away 
by  the  differentiated  phenomena  of  names  and  forms  created 
by  avidya — as  unknown,  difficult  to  know,  very  remote,  as 
though  He  were  a  separate  thing.  But  to  those  whose  reason 
(Buddhi)  has  turned  away  from  external  phenomena,  who 
have  secured  the  grace  of  the  Guru  and  attained  the 
serenity  of  the  self  (manas),  there  is  nothing,  nothing  else 
so  blissful,  so  well-known,  so  easily  knowable,  and  quite 
so  near  as  Brahman.  x\ccordingly,  the  knowledge  of  Brah- 
man is  said  to  be  immediately  comprehended  and  unopposed 
to  dharma.  fix.  2.) 

Some  conceited  philosophers  hold  that  reason  (Buddhi) 
cannot  grasp  the  Self,  as  He  is  formless,  and  that  there- 
fore the  Devotion  of  Right  Knowledge  is  impossible  of 

^  True,  it  is  unattainable  to  those  who  have  not  been  pro- 
perly initiated  into  the  traditional  knowledge  by  the   Gurus 

I  (the  Great  Ones),  who  have  not  learned  and  studied  the 
(teachings  of  the)  Vedanta,  whose  intellect  is  quite  engrossed 
in  the  external  objects  of  senses,  and  who  have  not  been 
trained  in  the  right  sources  of  knowledge.     But,    for   those 

.  who  are  differently  situated,  [i.  e.,  who  have  been  duly 
initiated,  etc.,),  it  is  quite  impossible  to  believe  in  the 
reality  of  the  dual — the  perceiver  and  the  perceived — of 
our  external  perception,  because  they  perceive  no  reality 
other  than  the  consciousness  of  the  Self./ And  we  have 
shewn  in  the  preceding  sections  that  this — not  the  reverse — 
is  the  truth,  and  the  Lord  also  has  declared  the  same  in  ii. 

50.]  CONCLUSION.  443 

69.  Wherefore  it  is  only  a  ressation  of  the  perception  of 
the  difTerentiated  forms  uf  the  external  world  that  can  lead 
to  a  firm  grasp  of  the  real  nature  of  the  Self.  For^  the 
Self  is  not  a  thing  unknown  to  anybody  at  any  time,  is  not 
a  thing  to  be  reached  or  got  rid  of  or  acquired.  If  the  Self  be 
quite  unknown,  all  undertakings  intended  for  the  benefit 
of  oneself  would  have  no  meaning.  It  is  not,  indeed, 
possible  to  imagine  that  they  are  for  the  benefit  of  the 
physical  body  or  the  like  which  has  no  consciousness ;  nor 
is  it  possible  to  imagine  that  pleasure  is  for  pleasure's  sake 
and  pain  is  for  pain's  sake.  It  is,  moreover,  the  Self- 
knowledge  which  is  the  aim  of  all  endeavour.*  Wherefore, 
just  as  there  is  no  need  for  an  external  evidence  by  which 
to  know  one's  own  body,  so  there  is  no  need  for  an  external 
evidence  by  which  to  know  the  Self  who  is  even  nearer 
than  the  body.  Thus  it  is  clear  that,  to  those  who  can 
discriminate,  the  Atma-juana-nish^ha  (devotion  to  Self 
knowledge)  is  easy  of  attainment.^ 

Cognition  and  the  Cogniser  are  self-revealed- 

Those  also  who  hold  that  cognition  (j;/ana)  is  formless 
and  is  not  known  by  immediate  perception  must  admit 
that,  since  an  object  of  knowledge  is  apprehended  through 
cognition,  cognition  is  quite  as  immediately  known  as 
pleasure  or  the  like. 

Moreover,  it  cannot  be  maintained  that  cognition  is  a 
thing  which  one  seeks  to  know. — If  cognition  were  unknown, 

*  All  action  enjoined  in   the  sniti   is       knowledget  Fjde,  Vedanta-SutrasIII.  iv' 
intended   only   as  a     means   to     Self-      26-27— A. 

444  THE  bhagavad-gIta.  [Dis.  XVIII. 

it  would  be  a  thing  which  has  to  be  sought  after  just  as  an 
object  of  cognition  is  sought  after.  Just  as,  for  example,  a 
man  seeks  to  reach  by  cognition  the  cognisable  object  such 
as  a  pot,  so  also  would  he  have  to  seek  to  reach  cognition 
by  means  of  another  cognition.  But  the  fact  is  otherwise. 
Wherefore  cognition  is  self-revealed,  and  therefore,  also, 
is  the  cogniser  self-revealed. 

Therefore  it  is  not  for  the  hioidedge  (of  Brahman  or  the 
Self)  that  any  effort"''  is  needed  ;  it  is  needed  only  to  prevent 
us  from  regarding  the  not- Self  as  the  Self.  Therefore, 
Devotion  to  Knowledge  (j/jana-nish^ha)  is  easily  attain- 

The  Path  to  Absolute  Perfection. 

How  is  this  consummation  of  knowledgel  to  be  attained? 
Listen  : 

51.  Endued  with  a  pure  reason,  controlling  the 
self  with  firmness,  abandoning  sound  and  other 
objects,  and  laying  aside  love  and  hatred  ; 

Pun  :  free  from  illusion  (maya),  from  doubt  and  mis- 
conception. Reason  (buddhi) :  the  determining  faculty.  The 
Self :  the  aggregate  of  the  body  and  the  senses.  A  handoning 
&>€.  :  ( as  we  should  understand  from  the  context )  all 
superfluous  luxuries,  all  objects  except  those  only  which 
are  necessary  for  the  bare   maintenance  of  the   body,    and 

*  With  a  view  to  bring  into  existence  t  A  continuous  current  of  the  know- 
something  that  does  not  already  exist  by  ledge  of  Brahman  ;  the  reason  merging 
means  of  an  act  enjoined  in  the  Sruti.  in  Brahman  through  the  elimination  of 
_^.  all  alien  attributes  ascribed  to  Him. — A. 

50-53-]  CONCLUSION.  445 

laying  aside   love  and  hatred  even   for    those  objects    which 
appear  necessary  for  the  maintenance  of  the   body. 

52.  Resorting  to  a  sequestered  spot,  eating 
but  little,  speech  and  body  and  mind  subdued, 
always  engaged  in  meditation  and  concentration, 
endued  with  dispassion ; 

Resorting,  (s^c. :  ever  accustomed  to  resort  to  such  se- 
questred  spots  as  a  jungle,  the  sandbank  of  a  river,  the 
mountain-cave.  Eating  but  little  :  as  conducive  to  the  sere- 
nity of  thought  by  keeping  off  sleep  and  such  other  evils. 
This  devotee  of  wisdom  should  also  restrain  his  speech, 
body  and  mind.  With  all  the  senses  thus  quieted,  he  should 
always  and  devoutly  practise  Dhyanaov  meditation  upon  the 
nature  of  the  Self,  and  Yoga  or  concentration  of  the  mind 
on  the  Self.  Ahuays :  this  implies  that  he  has  to  do  nothing 
else,  no  viantrajapa  (repetition  of  chants  or  mystic  formulae), 
etc.  Dispassion  :  absence  of  desire  for  visible  and 
invisible  objects.  This  should  be  a  constant  attitude  of 
the  mind. 


53.  Having  abandoned  egotism,  strength,  arrog- 
ance, desire,  enmity,  property,  free  from  the  no- 
tion of  "  mine,"  and  peaceful,  he  is  fit  for  becom- 
ing Brahman. 

Egotism  :  identifying  the  Self  with  the  body,  &c.  Strength: 
that  strength  which  is  combined  with  passion  and  desire, 
but  not  the  physical  or  any  other  strength  :  the  latter  being 
natural,  its  abandonment  is  not  possible.  Arrogance  :    which 


follows  the  State  of  exultation  and  leads  to  the  transgression 
of  dharma,  as  said  in  the  sninti : 

"  When  a  man  exults,  he  becomes  arrogant,  and 
when  he  becomes  arrogant,  he  transgresses  dharma  " — 
(Apastamba-Dharmasutra,    1-13-4). 

Property  :  though  a  man  is  free  from  all  passions  of  the 
mind  and  the  senses,  he  may  own  so  much  of  external 
belongings  as  is  necessary  for  bodily  sustenance  and  for  the 
observance  of  his  duties  (dharma) ;  but  even  this  the  aspirant 
abandons  ;  i.  e.,  he  becomes  a  Paramaha;;;sa-Parivrajaka, 
a  sawmyasin  of  the  fourth  or  highest  order.  He  does  not 
regard  even  the  bodily  life  as  his.  Peaceful :  free  from 
exultation  and  care.  Such  a  devotee  of  wisdom  is  fit  to 
become  Brahman. 

The  consummation  of  Knowledge  attained 
by  Devotion. 

In  this  way, 

54.  Becoming  Brahman,  of  serene  self,  he 
neither  grieves  nor  desires,  treating  all  beings 
alike  ;  he  attains  supreme  devotion  to  Me. 

\  He  who  has  reached  Brahman  and  attained  self-serenity 
does  not  grieve  regarding  his  failure  to  accomplish  an 
object  or  regarding  his  wants.  It  is  not  indeed  possible  to 
suppose  that  he  who  knows  Brahman  can  have  a  longing  for 

1  any  object  unattained/ therefore  the  words  "he  neither 
grieves  nor  desires  "  is  tantamount  to  saying  that  such  is 
the  nature  of  the  man  who  has  become  Brahman. — Another 
reading  makes  the  passage  mean  "  he  neither  grieves  nor 
exults." — Treating  all  beings  alike  :  he  regards  the  pleasure 

53-55']  CONCLUSION.  447 

and  pain  of  all  creatures  equally  with  his  own,  {i.e.,  that 
they  would  affect  them  just  as  they  affect  himself). — It 
is  not  meant  here  that  he  sees  the  identity  of  the  Self  in 
all,  as  this  will  be  mentioned  in  the  next  verse. — Such  a 
devotee  to  wisdom  attains  highest  devotion  to  Me,  the 
Supreme  Lord, — the  fourth  or  the  highest  of  the  four  kinds 
of  devotion,  —  vis.,  the  Devotion  of  Knowledge, — spoken  of 
in  vii.   i6. 


55.  By  Devotion  he  knows  Me  in  truth,  what 
and  who  I  am  ;  then,  knowing  Me  in  truth,  he 
forthwith  enters  into  Me. 

By  Bhakti,  by  the  Devotion  of  KnowledgQf  he  knows  Me  ' 
as  I  am  in  the  divers  manifestations  caused  by  upadhis.  He 
knows   who  I  am,  he  knows   that  I  am  devoid  of  all   the 
differences  caused   by  the  upadhis,  that  I  am  the  Supreme 
Purusha,  that  I  am  like   imto  akasa;  he  knows   Me  to   be 
non-dual,    the    one   Consciousness   (Chaitanya),  pure   and, 
simple,  unborn,    undecaying,  undying,    fearless,   deathless. 
Thus  knowing   Me  in  truth,  he  enters  into    Myself  immed-  \ 
lately  after  attaining  knowledge. 

It  is  not  meant  here  that  the  act  of  knowing  and  the  act 
of  entering  are  two  distinct  acts. — What  then  is  the  act  of 
entering  ? — It  is  the  knowledge  itself ;  for,  there  is  nothing 
to  be  effected  ( by  knowledge )  other  than  itself,  as  the 
Lord  has  taught,  "  Do  thou  also  know  Me  as  Kshetra- 
j»a."     (xiii.  2). 

(Objection) : — The  statement  that  "by  the  supreme  devotion 
of  knowledge   he  knows   Me,"  involves  a  contradiction. — 


How  ? — Thus :  when  the  knowledge  of  a  Certain  object 
arises  in  the  knower,  then  and  then  alone  the  knower 
knows  that  object ;  no  devotion  to  that  knowledge,  no  repe- 
tition of  the  knowledge,  is  necessary.  Therefore,  the  state- 
ment that  "  he  knows  Me,  not  by  knowledge,  but  by 
devotion  to  knowledge,  by  a  repetition  of  knowledge," 
involves  a  contradiction. 

{Answer)  : —  This  objection  does  not  apply  here';  for,  the 
word  "  devotion  (nishi'ha)"  means  that  the  knowledge  aided 
by  all  the  favourable  conditions  of  its  rise  and  development 
and  freed  from  obstacles  culminates  in  a  firm  conviction  by 
one's  own  experience.  /  When  the  knowledge  of  the  unity 
of  the  individual  Self  (Kshetraj«a)  and  the  Supreme  Self 
(Paramatman),  generated  by  the  teachings  of  the  Scriptures 
and  the  master  under  conditions  favourable  to  the  rise  and 
ripening  of  that  knowledge — viz.,  purity  of  mind,  humility 
and  other  attributes  (xiii.  7,  et  seq.), — and  accom_panied 
with  the  renunciation  of  all  works  which  are  associated 
with  the  idea  of  distinctions  such  as  the  agent  and  other 
factors  of  action,  culminates  in  a  firm  conviction  by  one's 
own  experience,  then  the  knowledge  is  said  to  have  attained 
supreme  consummation.  ^  This  jnana-nish^ha  (Devotion  of 
Knowledge)  is  referred  to  as  the  Supreme  or  fourth  kind 
of  Devotion,  Bhakti  (vii.  17), — supreme  as  compared  with  J 
the  remaining  three  kinds  of  Devotion,  with  that  of  the 
distressed,  &c.,  (vii.  16).  By  this  supreme  devotion  the  4 
aspirant  knows  the  Lord  as  He  is,  and  immediatly  after- 
wards all  consciousness  of  difference  between  the  Isvara 
and  the  Kshetraj;/a  disappears  altogether.  ,Thus  there  is  no 
contradiction  involved  in  the  statement  that  "by  the  Devo- 
tion of  Knowledge  (the  aspirant  knows)  Me.  " 

55.]  CONCLUSION.  449 

Renunciation  of  all  works  is  necessary    for 

absolute  perfection. 

Then  alone  can  the  well-ascertained  teacliing  of  all  scrip- 
tures— viz.y  the  Upanishads,  Itihasas,  Pura«as  and  Snintis 
— enjoining  retirement  have  a  meaning.  The  scriptural 
texts  are  such  as  the  following  : 

"  Knowing  It,  they  renounce  and  lead  a  mendicant 
life.'-(BH.  Up.  3-5-9). 

"Wherefore  they  say  that  renunciation  is  excellent 
among  these  austerities." — (Yajiliki-Up.  79). 

"  Renuncidtion  excels." — {Ibid.  78). 

"  Sa7/myasa  is  the  renunciation  of  actions." 

"Having  abandoned  Vedas,  this  world  and  the  next," 
etc. — (Apastamba-Dharmasiitra,  2-23-13). 

"  Renounce  dharma  and  a-dharma." 

And  so  on.  Here,  in  the  Gitii  also,  passages  of  similar 
import  (such  as  v.  12)  occur.  It  cannot  be  held  that  these 
passages  are  meaningless.  Nor  can  it  be  held  that  they  are 
arthavddas,  mere  explanatory  or  incidental  remarks  (not 
meant  as  obligatory  injunctions)  ;  for,  they  occur  in  the 
sections  which  specially  treat  of  renunciation. 

Moreover ,/(renunciation    of  works  is  necessary)  because  1 
Moksha   consists  in  the   realisation  of  the  immutability  of  | 
one's  own  Inner  Self.     He  who  wishes  to  reach  the  eastern 
sea  should  not  indeed  travel  in  the  opposite  direction,  i.  c, 
by  the  same   road  that  the  man  who  wishes  to  go  to  the 
western  sea  chooses.  And  the  Devotion  of  Knowledge  (juana- 
nish^hn)  consists  in  an  intent  effort  to  establish  a  continuous    , 
current  of  the  idea  of  the  Inner  Self  (Pratyagatman) ;  and 


450  THE    BHAGAVAD-GiTA.  [DiS.  XVIII. 

there  would  be  a  conflict  if  that  devotion  were  to  be  con- 
joined with  ritual  (karma),  which  is  like  going  towards  the 
western  sea.  It  is  a  firm  conviction  of  philosophers  that 
the  difference  between  the  two  is  as  wide  as  that  between  a 
mountain  and  a  mustard  seed.  Hence  the  conclusion  that 
the  Devotion  of  Knowledge  (jnana-nishi^ha )  should  be 
practised  by  renouncing  all  action. 

Devotion  to  the  Lord  by  works  enjoined. 

The  perfection  accruing  as  the  fruit  of  that  Bhakti-Yoga 
which  consists  in  worshipping  the  Lord  through  one's  own 
duties  qualifies  the  aspirant  for  the  Devotion  of  Knowledge 
which  culminates  in  moksha.  This  Bhakti-Yoga,  the  Yoga 
of  Devotion  to  the  Lord,  is  extolled  here,  in  this  section 
which  sums  up  the  teaching  of  the  sastra,  with  a  view  to 
firmly  impress  that  teaching. 

56.  Doing  continually  all    actions  whatsoever, 
taking  refuge    in    Me, — by  My  Grace    he    reaches       I 
the  eternal  undecaying  Abode. 

Doing  all  actions  including  even  the  prohibited  actions, 
whoso  seeks  refuge  in  Me,  Vasudeva,  the  Lord,  with  his 
whole  self  centred  in  Me,  reaches  the  eternal  Abode  of 
Vish;m  by  the  Grace  of  the  Lord. 


57.  Mentally  resigning  all  deeds  to  Me,  regard- 
ing Me  as  the  Supreme,  resorting  to  mental  con- 
centration, do  thou  ever  fix  thy  heart  in  Me.  [ 

Mentally  :  with    discriminative    faith.'''     All   actions :  pro- 

*  i.  e.,  the  faith   that    knowledge  alone       not  works,  finally  leads  to   salvation. — A 
obtain  able    by    the   Lord's    Grace, — but 

55-fii-]  CONCLUSION.  451 

ducing  visible  and  invisible  results.  Me :  the  Lord.  As 
taught  in  ix.  27,  do  thou  dedicate  all  thy  actions  to  Me. 
Regarding  :  regarding  Me,  \'asudeva,  as  the  highest  goal ; 
his  whole  self  centred  in  Me.  Resorting,  &.c :  resorting  to 
the  Buddlii-Yogd  (samahita-buddhitva,  steady- mindedness, 
firm  faith)  as  thy  sole  refuge. 

58.  Fixing  thy  heart  in  Me,  thou  shalt,  by  My 
Grace,  cross  over  all  difficulties  ;  but  if  from  ego- 
tism thou  wilt  not  hear  (Me),  thou  shalt  perish. 

Difficulties  :  the  impassable  obstacles  arising  from(avidya), 
the  cause  of  sawsara.  Egotism :  the  idea  that  thou  art  a 
learned  man.  If  thou  wilt  not  abide  by  my  advice,  then 
thou  shalt  be  ruined. 

Neither  shouldst  thou  think,  "  I  am  independent ;  why 
should  I  obey  the  dictates  of  another"  ? 

59.  If,  indulging  egotism,  thou  thinkest  '  I  will 
not  fight,'  vain  is  this,  thy  resolve ;  nature  will 
constrain  thee. 

Tkinhst,  resolvest.    Vain  :  for,  thy  nature  as  a  Kshatriya 
will  constrain  thee  to  do  so. 
Also  because, 

60.  Bound  (as  thou  art},  O  son  of  Kunti,  by 
thy  own  nature-born  act,  that  which  from  delu- 
sion thou  likest  not  to  do,  thou  shalt  do,  though 
against  thy  will. 

Nature-born  :  such  as  prowess,  &c.,  mentioned  above  (xviii. 
43).     Against  thy  mil :  in  subjection  to  some  external  force. 


61.  The  Lord  dwells  in  the  hearts  of  all  beings, 


O   Arjuna,  whirling   by    Maya   all   beings    (as  if) 
mounted  on  a  machine. 

The  Lord  {isYSLva.)  :  the  Ruler,  Naraya/za.  Arjitna:  pure 
in  the  internal  self,  of  a  pure  antaA-karana.  The  word 
"  arjuna  "  is  used  in  the  sense  of  '  pure '  in  the  i?ig-Veda, 
"  The  dark  day  and  the //^//i  day."  (6-9-1).  He  causes  all 
beings  to  revolve  as  if — '  as  if '  being  understood — mounted 
on  machines,  like  wooden  dolls  mounted  on  a  machine.  By 
Maya:  by  causing  illusion.  '  Whirling'  should  be  construed 
with  '  dwells,' 

62.  Fly  unto  Him  for  refuge  with  all  thy  being, 
O  Bharata  ;  by  His  Grace  shall  thou  obtain 
supreme  peace  (and)  the  eternal  resting  place. 

Seek  thou  that  Lord  as  thy  sole  Refuge  with  thy  whole 
being  for  relief  from  the  distress  of  sa;«sara.  Then,  by 
His  Grace,  thou  shalt  obtain  supreme  peace  and  attain  to 
My — i.  e.,  Vishjai's — ^Supreme  Eternal  Abode. 

63.  Thus   has   wisdom,    more   secret  than  all 
that  is  secret,  been  declared  to  thee  by  Me;  reflect. 
thou  over  it  all  and  act  as  thou  pleasest. 

Me  :  the  Omniscient  Lord.  It :  the  Sastra,  the  teaching 
declared  above.  All :    everything  that  has  been  taught. 

Devotion  to  the  Lord  is  the  Secret  of  success 
in  Karma- Yoga. 

Listen  to  what  I  am  again  going  to  say  : 

64.  Hear  thou  again  My  word  supreme,  the 
most  secret  of  all ;  because  thou  art  My  firm  friend, 
therefore  will  I  tell  thee  what  is  good. 

6 1 -66.]  CONCLUSION.  453 

Again  :  thou^'h  it  has  been  more  than  once  declared.  I  do 
not  tell  thee  either  from  fear  or  from  hope  of  reward ;  thou 
art  My  firm  friend,  thou  art  ever  beloved  of  Me ;  and  for 
this  reason  I  shall  tell  thee  of  the  supreme  good,  the  means 
of  attaining  knowledge.  This  last  is,  indeed,  the  highest 
of  all  kinds  of  good. 

What  is  it  ? — The  Lord  says: 

65.  Fix  thy  thought  on  Me,  be  devoted  to  Me, 
worship  Me,  do  homage  to  Me.  Thou  shalt  reach 
Myself.  The  truth  do  I  declare  to  thee ;  (for)  thou 
art  dear  to  Me. 

TJioii  shalt  reach  Myself:  thus  acting — i.  e.,  looking  up  to 
Vasudeva  alone  as  thy  aim,  means,  and  end — thou  shalt 
come  to  Me.  In  this  matter  I  make  a  solemn  promise. — 
The  meaning  of  the  verse  is  this  :  Thus,  knowing  that  the 
Lord's  declarations  are  true,  and  being  convinced  that 
moksha  is  a  necessary  result  of  devotion  to  the  Lord,  one 
should  look  to  the  Lord  as  the  highest  and  sole  Refuge. 

Right   Knowledge  and  Renunciation. 

*Kiving  taught  in  conclusion  that  the  supreme  secret  of 
the  Devotion  of  Karma- Yoga,  is  the  regarding  of  the  Lord 
as  the  sole  Refuge,  the  Lord  now  proceeds  to  speak  of  the 
Right  Knowledge,  the  fruit  of  the  Devotion  of  Karma- 
Yoga,  as  taught  in  the  essential  portions  of  all  the  Vedan- 
tas  (Upanishads) : 

66.  Abandoning  all  righteous  deeds,  seek  Me 
as  thy  sole  Refuge  ;  I  will  liberate  thee  from  all 
sins  ;  do  thou  not  grieve. 

Righteous    deeds  (dharma)  :    including    unrighteous  deeds 


(a-dharma)  also,  since  naishkarmya  or  freedom  from  all 
action  is  intended  to  be  taught  here.  Here  may  be  cited 
such  passages  of  the  sruti  and  the  smnti  as  the  following  : 

"  Not  he  who  has  not  abstained  from  evil  deed... can 
attain  It."— (Ka^ha-Up.  1-2-24) 

"  Abandon  dharma  and  a-dharma." 
So,  the  passage  means  "  renouncing  all  works."  Me  alom  : 
the  isvara,  the  Self  of  all,  dwelling  the  same  in  diW. /Seek 
Me  as  thy  sole  Refuge  :  in  the  belief  "  I  myself  am  that 
:  tsvara  ;"  i.e.,  do  thou  understand  that  there  is  naught  else 
except  Me.  When  thou  art  firm  in  this  faith,  I  shall  liberate 
thee  from  all  sins,  from  all  bonds  of  dharma  and  a-dharma, 
by  manifesting  Myself  as  thy  own  Self.  ^So  it  has  been 
already  said  here, 

"  I  destroy  the  darkness  born  of  ignorance    by  the 
luminous  lamp  of   wisdom,   abiding    in  their    self." — 
(x.  II.) 
Wherefore  do  thou  not  grieve. 

What  is  the  means  to  the  Highest  Bliss, — Knowledge 

or  Works? 

What  has  been  determined  in  this  GitS.-sristra  as  the 
means  of  attaining  the  Highest  Bliss  (nis-sreyasa)  ?  Is  it 
Knowledge  (Jfiana),  or  Works  (Karma),  or  both  together? 

^^^hence  this  doubt  ? 

It  has  been  said  "  Knowing  which  one  attains  the  Im- 
mortal" (xiii.  12),  and  "  Then  knowing  Me  in  truth,  he 
forthwith  enters  into  Me"  (xiii.  55)  :  these  and  other  pass- 
ages teach  that  the  Highest  Bliss  is  attained  by  mere 
knowledge.  Such  passages  again  as  "  Thy  concern  is 
with  action  alone"    (ii.  47),    and  "  Do  thou    also    perform 


66.]  CONCLUSION.  455 

action,"  (iv.  15),  teach  that  performance  of  works  is  (juite 
obligatory.  Since  it  has  been  taught  that  both  knowledge 
and  works  are  obligatory,  there  may  arise  a  doubt  as  to 
whether  also  the  two  conjoined  may  not  constitute  the 
means  to  the  Highest  Bliss. 

What  is  the  good  of  this  enquiry  at  all  ? 

It  is  this,  viz.,  to  determine  which  one  of  them  forms  the 
means  to  the  Highest  Bliss.  Wherefore,  the  subject  is  very 
wide  and  is  worth  investigating. 

Self  =  Knowledge  alone  is  the    means  to  the  Highest 


/Pure  Self-knowledge  alone  is  the  means  to  the  Highest 
Bliss  ;  for,  as  removing  the  notion  of  variety,  it  culminates 
in  liberation  (kaivalya).  Avidya  is  the  perception  of  variety 
involving  actions,  factors  of  action,  and  the  ends  of  actions. 
It  is  always  present  in  the  Self.  "  Mine  is  action  ;  I  am  the 
agent  ;  I  do  this  act  for  such  and  such  a  result  :"  in  this 
form,  avidya  has  been  active  in  time  without  a  beginning. 
The  remover  of  this  avidya  is  the  knowledge  of  the  Self 
arising  in  the  following  form,  "Here  I  am,  free,  a  non -agent, 
actionless,  devoid  of  results";  for  such  a  knowledge  removes 
the  notion  of  variety  which  causes  one  to  engage  in  action./ 
— The  word  "  alone  "  (in  the  opening  line  of  this  paragraph) 
is  intended  to  exclude  the  two  other  alternatives  :  neither 
by  works  alone,  nor  by  works  and  knowledge  conjoined 
together,  is  the  Highest  Bliss  attained.  Since,  moreover, 
the  Highest  Bliss  is  not  an  effect  to  be  accomplished  by 
action,  works  cannot  be  the  means  to  it.  Indeed,  the  Eternal 
Reality  is  not  produced  either  by  knowledge  or   by    works. 


{Objection)  : — Then,  even  the  pure  knowledge  serves  no 
purpose  ! 

[Answer)  : — Not  so  ;  for,  by  removing  avidya,  it  culmi- 
nates in  emancipation,  which  is  a  visible  result. — We  know 
from  experience  that  knowledge  which  removes  the 
darkness  of  avidya  culminates  in  emancipation  as  its 
result  ;  for  instance,  in  the  case  of  a  rope  (mistaken  for  a 
serpent),  as  soon  as  the  light  of  the  lamp  removes  the  dark- 
ness which  caused  the  error,  the  rope  is  no  longer  mistaken 
for  a  serpent.  The  result  of  illumination  culminates  indeed 
in  the  emancipation  of  the  rope,  in  freeing  the  rope  from 
the  various  mistaken  notions  of  serpent,  etc.,  which  then 
cease  altogether.  So,  too,  as  regards  the  Self-knowledge. 

Knowledge  cannot  be  conjoined  with  Works. 

Now,  when  the  agent  and  other  factors  of  action  are 
operating  in  the  act  of  cutting  or  in  the  act  of  churning  fire, 
— each  act  producing  a  visible  result, — they  cannot  ('at 
the  same  time)  operate  in  another  act  productive  of  another 
result  different  from  severance  or  the  kindling  of  a  fire  ;  so 
also  when  the  agent  and  other  factors  of  action  are  con- 
cerned in  the  act  of  knowledge-devotion  (juana-nish^ha), — 
whereof  alike  the  result  is  visible, — they  cannot  at  the  same 
time  operate  to  bring  about  another  act  productive  of  a 
result  other  than  the  emancipation  of  the  Self.  Wherefore, 
the  Devotion  of  Knowledge  cannot  be  conjoined  with  works. 

{Objection)  : — They  may  be  conjoined,  just  as  the  act  of 
eating  and  the  acts  of  fire-worship  (agnihotra),  &c.,  are  con- 

{Answer)  : — No  ;  for,  emancipation  being  the  result  of 
knowledge,  (the  devotee  of  knowledge)    cannot  desire  the 

66.]  CONCLUSION.  457 

result  of  works. — When  there  is  an  all-spreading  flood 
of  water  close  by  nobody  would  ever  think  of  constructing 
wells  and  tanks  to  any  purpose.  So  also  when  knowledge 
leading  to  emancipation  as  its  result  has  been  attained,  no- 
body would  ever  desire  any  other  result  or  seek  to  do  an  act 
by  which  to  obtain  that  other  result.  He  who  is  engaged 
in  an  act  by  which  he  hopes  to  ac(pire  a  whole  kingdom 
will  not  certainly  engage  in  an  act  which  can  at  best  secure 
for  him  a  piece  of  land,  nor  will  he  cherish  a  desire  for  it. 
Therefore, -works  are  not  the  means  to  the  Highest  Bliss. 
Neither  is  a  conjunction  of  knowledge  and  works  possible. 
Nor  can  it  be  held  that  knowledge  which  leads  to  emanci- 
pation requires  the  aid  of  works  ;  for,  as  removing  avidya, 
knowledge  is  opposed  to  works.  Indeed,  darkness  cannot 
remove  darkness.  Therefore,  knowledge  alone  is  the  means 
to  the  Highest  Bliss.  / 

Refutation  of  the  theory  that  salvation  is  attained 
by  works  alone. 

(Objection)  : — No.  For,  by  neglect  of  iiitya  or  obligatory 
works  one  incurs  sin  (pratya%'aya) ;  and  kaivalya  or  emanci- 
pation is  eternal. 

{To  explain)  : — It  is  wrong  to  say  that  emancipation 
is  attained  by  knowledge  alone  ;  for,  by  neglect  of  the 
nitya-karma  or  obligatory  works  enjoined  in  the  sruti,  a  man 
incurs  sin  which  leads  him  to  hell,  etc. 

[Conntev-objection)  : — Thus,  then,  since  moksha  is  not  to  be 
attained  by  works,  there  can  be  no  hope  of  attaining  moksha 
at  all. 


458  THE  bhagavad-gIta.  [Dis.  XVIII. 

{Rejoindev) : — There  is  no  room  for  any  such  objection,  in- 
asmuch as  mokshais  eternal.  The  sin  of  omission  (pratyavaya) 
is  avoided  by  the  observance  of  the  nitya-karma  or  obliga- 
tory works  ;  by  avoiding  the  prohibited  acts,  no  obnoxious 
bodies  are  generated;  by  2i\o\di\ng\hek(imya-kavmaot  interested 
acts  no  desirable  body  either  is  generated  ;  and  when  the 
present  body  perishes  on  the  exhaustion  of  the  fruits  of  the 
works  which  have  given  rise  to  the  body,  no    more    causes 

'  then  exist  which  can  generate  another  body ;  and^vhen 
attachment  and  other  passions  are  expunged  from  the  heart, 
the    emancipation  of  the  Self — i.  e.,  the   realisation   by   the 

I  Self  of  His  own  true  nature — is  attained  without  any  effort.  ^ 

{Countey-ohjection)  : — Those  of  the  acts  done  in  the  past 
innumerable  births,  which  have  not  yet  begun  their  effects, 
and  of  which  some  lead  to  heaven  and  others  to  hell,  and 
so  on,  have  not  been  extinguished,  because  their  effects 
have  not  been  enjoyed. 

[Rejoinder): — No ;  for  we  argue  that  the  fruits  of  those 
works  are  reaped  in  the  form  of  the  trouble  and  pain  involved 
in  the  performance  of  the  nitya-karma.  Or,  the  nitya-karma 
may,  like  the  priiyaschitta  or  expiatory  act,  serve  to 
destroy  past  sins.  The  works  which  have  begun  their 
effects  being  exhausted  by  the  enjoyment  of  their  fruits,  and 
no  new  works  being  undertaken,  it  follows  that  emancipation 
is  attained  without  any  effort. 

[Answer): — No;  for  the  sruti  says  that  there  exists  no 
other  road  to  moksha  than  knowledge  : 

"  Knowing  Him  alone,  one   crosses  beyond  death ; 
there  exists  no  other  road  to  the  Abode"  (5vet.  Up.  3-8). 

The  Sruti  says,  further,  that  moksha  is  as  impossible  for 

66.]  CONCLUSION.  459 

the  unwise  man  as  it  is  impossible  for  men  to  compress 
the  akasa  Hke  leather  {Ibid.  6 — 20).  And  the  Pura;nc 
tradition  also  says  that  '  one  attains  emancipation  by  know- 

Moreover,  the  good  deeds  (pu«ya-karma)  which  have 
not  yet  begun  their  effects  cannot  be  said  to  have  been 
exhausted.  Just  as  the  existence  of  sins  which  have  not 
begun  their  effects  is  possible,  so  also  the  existence  of  good 
(pu;?ya)  deeds  which  have  not  yet  begun  their  effects  is 
possible  ;  and  as  these  cannot  be  exhausted  without  gen- 
crating  another  body,  moksha  is  not  possible. 

Neither  is  it  possible  to  generate  no  new  merit  and  de- 
merit (dharma  and  adharma  in  this  body),  inasmuch  as 
destruction  of  love  and  hatred  and  delusion  whicli  lead  to 
acts  of  merit  and  demerit  cannot  be  effected  except  by 
means  of  Self-knowledge.  Because  the  sruti  says  that  the 
nityn-karma  produces  merit  (pu«ya)  as  its  result,  and  because 
the  smriti  says  that,  by  performing  their  proper  duties,  the 
several  castes  and  orders  attain  to  a  high  immeasurable 
happiness,  the  exhaustion  of  works  is  not  possible. 

Refutation  of  the  theory  that  the  Nitya  Karma 
leads  to  no  future  births. 

Now,  as  to  the  contention  :  As  painful  in  itself,  the  nitya- 
karma  is  itself  the  fruit  of  sinful  deeds  committed  in  the 
past ;  apart  from  itself,  the  nitya-karma  bears  no  distinct 
fruit,  because  the  sruti  speaks  nowhere  of  its  fruits,  the 
mere  circumstance  of  a  man  being  alive  forming  a  sufficient 
ground  for  its  necessary  performance. 

We  say,  no  ;  for,  it  is  impossible  for  those  deeds  to  yield 
their  fruits  which  have  not    yet  begun  to   work   out   their 


effects.     Neither  can    there  be  any  variety  in  the  pain  (in- 
volved in  the  performance  of  the  nitya-karma). 

{To  explain) : — It  is  wrong  to  say  that  the  fruits  of  the  sinful 
deeds  committed  in  the  past  births  are  reaped  in  the  form 
of  the  trouble  and  pain  involved  in  the  performance  of  the 
nitya-karma.  We  cannot  indeed  understand  how  the  fruit 
of  the  deeds  which  did  not  sprout  up  for  fruition  at  the 
time  of  death  can  be  reaped  in  the  birth  caused  by  another 
set  of  deeds.  Otherwise,  there  would  be  nothing  unreason- 
able in  the  supposition  that  infernal  suffering  is  possible 
in  the  very  birth  that  has  been  generated  by  Agnihotva  (fire- 
sacrifice)  for  the  enjoyment  of  the  fruit  thereof /.f.,  for 
the  enjoyment  of  heaven  (svarga). 

Moreover,  the  pain  involved  in  the  performance  of  the 
nitya-karma  cannot  answer  to  that  variety  of  suffering 
(which  should  result  from  the  variety)  of  acts  of  sin.  While 
many  acts  of  sin  productive  of  as  many  distinct  kinds  of 
suffering  may  possibly  exist,  to  suppose  that  their  effects 
consist  in  the  mere  trouble  and  pain  involved  in  the 
observance  of  the  nitya-karma  would  lead  to  the  further 
supposition — which  it  is  impossible  to  hold — that  the  suffer- 
ing inflicted  by  the  pairs  of  opposites,  diseases  and  the  like, 
has  no  cause  of  its  own,  and  that  the  trouble  and  pain 
involved  in  the  observance  of  the  nitya-karma  is  alone  the 
effect  of  past  sins,  but  not  the  pain  of  carrying  stones  on 
the  head  or  the  like. 

Besides,  it  is  irrelevant  to  say  that  the  trouble  and  pain 
involved  in  the  observance  of  the  nitya-karma  constitutes 
the  result  of  the  sinful,  deeds  done  in  tlie  past.— How  ? — It 
has  been  urged  that  no  extinction  of  the  past  sin  which  has 
not  begun  to  bear  fruit  is  possible  ;    whereas  you    say  that 

66.]  CONCLUSION.  461 

the  fruit  of  the  deed  which  has  begun  to  bear  fruit — not  the 
fruit  of  the  deed  which  has  not  begun  to  bear  fruit — is  reaped 
in  the  form  of  the  trouble  and  pain  involved  in  the  observance 
of  the  nitya-karma.  If,  on  the  other  hand,  you  mean  that 
the  whole  sin  committed  in  the  past  has  begun  to  bear  fruit, 
then  there  is  no  ground  for  the  specification  that  the  mere 
trouble  and  pain  involved  in  the  observance  of  the  nitya- 
karma  are  the  fruits  (of  those  sinful  deeds  which  have  not  be- 
gun to  produce  their  effects).  It  would  then  also  follow  that 
the  enjoining  of  the  nitya-karma  has  no  purpose  to  serve  ; 
for,  the  sinful  deeds  which  have  begun  their  effects  can  be 
extinguished  by  merely  undergoing  the  effects  so  produced. 

Moreover,  if  pain  be  the  result  of  the  nitya-karma  enjoined 
in  the  sruti,  that  pain  may  arise  from  the  trouble  involved 
in  the  observance  of  the  nitya-karma  itself  as  from  any 
other  active  exercise :  it  is  therefore  unreasonable  to  suppose 
that  it  is  the  result  of  another  action. 

Again,  as  enjoined  on  a  man  on  the  mere  ground  of  his 
being  alive,  the  nitya-karma  cannot  be,  any  more  than  a 
prayaschitta  or  expiatory  act,  the  effect  of  sins  committed 
in  the  past.  An  expiatory  act,  enjoined  by  reason  of  a 
certain  act  of  sin  having  been  committed,  is  not  the  fruit 
of  that  sinful  act.  If,  on  the  other  hand,  the  pain  of  the 
expiatory  act  be  the  effect  of  the  very  sinful  act  which 
forms  its  occasion,  then,  it  would  follow  that  the  trouble 
and  pain  involved  in  the  performance  of  the  nitya-karma 
occasioned  by  the  man's  being  alive,  &c.,  is  the  effect  of 
that  very  state  of  being  alive  which  has  occasioned  the 
necessity  ;  the  nitya-karma  and  prayaschitta  being  alike 
necessitated  by  the  particular  occasions  respectively. 

462  THE  BHAGAVAD-GITA.  [DiS.    XVIIj' 

Moreover,  the  trouble  and  pain  involved  in  the  pe) 
[ormance  of  a  nitya-agnihotm  (five-worship  done  as  a  dutj 
and  a  kdmya-agnihotva  (fire-worship  done  with  a  motivf 
being  equal,  and  no  special  reason  being  found  as  to  wh 
the  trouble  and  pain  involved  in  the  performance  of  th' 
nitya-karma  alone  should  constitute  the  result  of  sins  con 
mitted  in  the  past,  but  not  the  trouble  and  pain  involve 
in  the  performance  of  the  kamya-karma,  it  would  follo^; 
that  the  latter  also  is  the  result  of  sins  committed  in  th; 
past.  Such  being  the  case,  it  is  wrong  to  infer,  on  th" 
ground  of  consistency  (arthapatti),  that  because  no  mentio 
is  made  in  the  sruti  of  the  nitya-karma's  results  and  becaus 
the  injunction  thereof  is  otherwise  inexplicable,  the  troub 
and  pain  involved  in  the  performance  of  the  nitya-karrr 
is  the  result  of  sins  committed  in  the  past.  The  injunctio 
being  otherwise  inexplicable,  we  should  even  infer  that  th 
nitya-karma  is  productive  of  results  distinct  from  the  pai 
and  trouble  involved  in  its  performance. 

The  opponent  is  also  guilty  of  inconsistency.  When 
is  once  admitted  that  through  the  performance  of  thenityj 
karma  the  fruit  of  another  deed  is  reaped,  this  reapin 
forms  itself  the  fruit  of  the  nitya-karma,  and  it  is  therefoi 
inconsistent  to  hold  at  the  same  time  that  the  nitya-karm 
produces  no  fruits  of  its  own. 

Moreover,  when  the  kamya-agnihotra  is  performed,  th 
nitya-agnihotra  is  also  said  to  have  been  performed  simult? 
neously,  as  included  in  that  self-same  act ;  and  therefore  th 
fruit  of  the  kamya-agnihotra  should  become  exhausted  wit 
the  trouble  and  pain  involved  in  the  nitya-agnihotra,  inaJ 
much  as  the  kamya-agnihotra  is  not  a  distinct  act  from  th 
nitya-agnihotra.     If,  on  the  other  hand,  the   effect   of   th 

5]  CONCLUSION.  463 

amya-agnihotra  be  something  distinct,  such  as  svarga, 
len  it  would  follow  that  the  trouble  and  pain  of  its  per- 
irmance  must  also  be  distinct ;  but  it  is  not  so,  for  it  is 
pposed  to  facts.  In  point  of  fact,  the  trouble  and  pain 
ivolved  in  the  performance  of  the  nitya-karma  is  not 
istinct  from  that  of  the  kamya-karma. 

Furthermore,  an  action  which  is  neither  enjoined  nor 
rohibited  (in  the  sruti)  is  productive  of  immediate  results  ; 
nt  an  act  which  is  enjoined  or  prohibited  by  the  sastra 
innot  be  productive  of  immediate  result.  If  this  latter  were 
'oductive  of  immediate  results,  then  no  effort  would  be 
ade  with  a  view  to  attain  an  unseen  result,  even  though  it 
3  svarga  or  the  like,  so  long  as  it  is  held  that  in  the  case  of 
gnihotra  or  the  like — despite  the  absence  of  all  distinction 
I  the  nature  of  the  act — the  fruits  of  the  act  when  per- 
rmed  as  a  nitya-karma  are  reaped  in  the  form  of  the  mere 
ouble  and  pain  involved  in  its  performance,  whereas 
hen  performed  as  a  kamya-karma  the  self-same  act 
roduces  a  superior  result — such  as  svarga — merely  because 
lere  is  a  longing  for  its  results,  although  the  latter  act  is 
5t  superior  to  the  former  in  any  of  the  subsidiary  parts  or 
.  the  mode  of  performance.  Wherefore  it  is  in  no  way 
;asonable  to  contend  that  the  nitya-karma  does  not  lead  to 
isults  in  the  unseen  future. 

The  Paths  of  Knowledge  and  Works  are  meant  for 
distinct  classes  of  aspirants. 

So*,    knowledge   alone   can    cause   total   destruction   of 

*  Dticause  the   nitya-karma,    like    tlie  it  is  not  intended  for  the  removal  of  sins  ; 

iiiya-karma,  yields  its  fruits  in   the   in-  and   therefore    Self-knowledge  alone,   it 

sible  future  by  way   of  taking   the   de-  must  be  admitted,  conduces  to   that  end. 

tee  to  the  regions  of  Pitris  and  the  like,  —A. 


good  or  evil  deeds  caused  by  avidya — not  the  performance 
of  the  nitya-karma.  For,avidya  and  kama  (nescience  and 
desire)  constitute  the  seed  of  all  action.  Accordingly  it  has 
been  declared  that  Karma- Yoga  pertains  to  the  ignorant 
and  that  Jwana-nish^ha  or  knowledge-devotion  accom- 
panied with  renunciation  of  all  works  pertains  to  the  wise. 
Vide  ii.  ig,  21  ;  iii.  3,  26,  28  ;  v.  8,  13  ;  vii.  18  ;  ix.  21, 
22  ;  X.  10.  From  the  last  verse  here  quoted  it  should  be 
inferred  that  ignorant  men  who  are  devoted  to  action  can- 
not approach  the  Lord.  And  therefore,  notwithstanding 
that  ignorant  men,  who  are  followers  of  works,  are  most  de- 
vout, rendering  service  to  the  Lord,  they  resort  only  to  one 
of  the  several  paths  mentioned  (xii.  6-1 1)  in  their  descending 
order,  the  lowest  of  them  being  that  which  consists  in 
abandoning  the  fruits  of  action.  But  as  regards  those  who 
are  devoted  to  the  Undefinable  and  the  Indestructible,  the 
attributes,  they  cultivate  are  mentioned  m  xii.  13-20;  and 
their  path  of  knowledge  is  also  described  in  the  three  dis- 
courses commencing  with  the  (thirteenth)  discourse  on  the 
Kshetra'".  The  triple  result  of  action. — such  as  the  evil, 
good  and  mixed  fruit, — (xviii.  12)  does  not  accrue  to  those 
who  have  renounced  all  works  generated  by  the  five  causes 
such  as  the  body  (xviii.  14),  who  know  that  the  Self  is  one 
and  non-agent,  who  are  engaged  in  the  higher  devotion  of 
knowledge,  who  have  known  the  true  nature  of  the  Lord, — 
to  the  Paramaha/zzsa-Parivrajakas  (i.  c,  the  sawmyasins  of 
the  fourth  or  highest  order)  who  have  obtained  refuge  in 
the  unity  of  the  Self  and  the  Divine  Being.  But  it  does 
accrue  to  others  who  are  ignorant,  who   follow  the  path  of 

*  Vide  xiii.  7-11,  siv.  22-26,  sv  3-5. — A, 

66.]  CONCLUSION.  465 

works,  who  are  not  sawnyasins.    Thus  should  we  assign  the 
paths  of  duty  taught  in  the  Gita-sastra. 

Action  is  a  creature  of  Avidya. 

{Objection)  : —  It  cannot  be  proved  that  all  action  is  caused 
by  avidya. 

(AnsKxy)  : —  No  ;  it  can  be  proved,  as  in  the  case  of 
brahmanicide  (brahmahatya). — The  nitya-karma  is  no  doubt 
taught  in  the  sastra  ;  but  it  concerns  the  ignorant  alone. 
Just  as  the  act  of  brahmanicide,  which,  as  prohibited 
in  the  sastra,  is  known  to  be  a  source  of  evil,  is  committed 
only  by  him  who  is  ignorant  and  influenced  by  passion  and 
other  evil  tendencies, — his  concern  in  it  being  otherwise 
inexplicable — so  also,  all  nitya,  naimittika,  and  kamya 
karmas,  i.  e.,  all  works  comprising  the  constant  and 
occasional  duties  as  well  as  all  interested  sacrificial  rites, 
concern  only  him  who  is  ignorant  (of  the  Self). 

{Objection) : — So  long  as  it  is  not  known  that  the  Self  is 
distinct  from  the  body,  it  is  not  likely  that  any  man  would 
undertake  to  perform  the  nitya-karma,  etc. 

{Answer)  : — Not  so  ;  for,  we  see  that  a  man  engages  in  an 
act  thinking  "  I  do"  the  act,  v.-hich,  being  of  the  nature  of 
motion,  is  really  done  by  the  agency  of  the  not-Self,  (of  the 
body,  etc.). 

{Objection)  :— The  regarding  of  the  aggregate  of  the  body, 
etc.,  as  the  Self  is  only  a  gau/za-pratyaya  or  a  figuratively 
expressed  notion  ;  it  is  not  an  illusion  (mithya). 

{Answcy)  : — Not  so  ;  for,  then  its  effects,  too,  must  be 
gau»a,  must  have  been  figuratively  spoken  of. 



{To  ex  plain  the  objection)  : — When  we  speak  of  the  aggregate 
of  the  body,  etc., — which  are  things  belonging  to  the  Self, — 
as  the  Self,  our  words  should  be  understood  in  a  figurative 
sense,  as  when,  for  instance,  addressing  the  father  the 
sruti  says  "  thyself  art  he  who  is  spoken  of  as  thy  son.'' 
In  common  parlance,  too,  we  say  "  this  cow  is  my  very 
life."  In  the  present  case  there  is  certainly  no  mithya- 
pratyaya  or  illusory  notion.  It  is  only  when  the  distinction 
between  the  two  is  not  perceived, — as  when  a  pillar  is  mis- 
taken for  a  man,  that  we  have  an  instance  of  illusion. 

{To  explain  the  ansivey)  : — Not  so.  A  gau;ia-pratyaya  can- 
not lead  to  a  real  effect ;  for,  a  figurative  expression, — the 
sign  of  similarity  being  understood, — is  merely  intended  to 
extol  the  subject.  For  example,  such  expressions  as 
"Devadatta  is  a  lion"  and  "  the  student  is  fire"  are  intended 
merely  to  extol  the  subjects,  Devadatta  and  the  student, 
because  of  their  respective  resemblance  to  the  lion  and  fire 
in  point  of  fierceness  and  yellomshness  ;  but  no  effect  of  the 
existence  of  a  real  lion  or  of  a  real  fire  is  accomplished  in  virtue 
of  that  figurative  expression  or  idea.  On  the  other  hand,  one 
actually  experiences  the  evil  effects  of  an  illusory    notion. 

Furthermore,  one  knows  what  the  subject  in  reality  is 
when  it  is  figuratively  spoken  of  as  some  other  thing  ;  one 
knows  that  Devadatta  is  no  lion  and  that  the  student  is  no 
fire.  So  also,  if  the  bodily  aggregate  be  figuratively  spoken 
of  as  the  Self,  the  act  done  by  the  bodily  aggregate 
would  not  be  regarded  as  an  act  done  in  reality  by  the  Self, 
by  the  real  subject  of  the  notion  "  I."  Indeed,  no  act  done 
by  a  gau;/a  (figurative)  lion  or  fire  can  become  an  act  done 
by  a  real  lion  or  fire.     Neither  is  any  purpose  whatever   of 

66.]  CONCLUSION.  467 

an  actual  lion  or  fire  served  by  fierceness  or   yellowishness, 
it  being  merely  intended  to  extol  (the  subject). 

Moreover,  he  who  is  thus  praised  knows  that  he  is  not  a 
lion,  that  he  is  not  fire  ;  he  never  regards  an  act  of  a  lion  or 
of  fire  as  his.  So,  (if,  in  the  present  case,  the  bodily  aggre- 
gate were  figuratively  spoken  of  as  the  Self),  one  would 
think  rather  that  the  act  of  the  (bodily)  aggregate  "is  not 
mine,"  i.  c,  not  the  real  Self's,  than  that  "  I  am  the  agent, 
mine  is  the  action." 

And  as  regards  the  theory  that  the  Self  actually  does  an 
act,  —  his  memory,  desire  and  effort  forming  causes  of 
action, — we  say  that  such  is  not  the  case,  because  they 
proceed  from  illusion.  In  fact,  memory,  desire  and  effort 
proceed  from  impressions  produced  by  the  experience  of 
desirable  and  undesirable  effects  of  actions  set  up  by  illu- 
sion. Just  as  in  this  birth  dharma  and  a-dharma  and  the 
experience  of  their  fruits  are  due  to  the  identifying  of  the 
Self  with  the  aggregate  of  the  body,  &c.,  to  affection  and 
aversion  and  so  on,  so  also  in  the  last  previous  birth  and  in 
the  birth  previous  to  that,  and  so  on.  Thus  we  are  to  infer  that 
sa;;;sara,  past  and  future,  is  caused  by  avidya  and  is  with- 
out a  beginning.  Wherefore  it  follows  that  the  final  cessation 
of  sawsara  is  attained  through  devotion  to  knowledge 
accompanied  with    renunciation  of  all  works. 

Because  attachment  to  the  body  is  an  aspect  of  avidya, 
therefore,  when  avidyil  ceases,  the  body  also  must  cease  to 
be,  and  then  sa;«sara  necessarily  ceases. — The  identifying 
of  the  Self  vvith  the  aggregate  of  the  body,  etc.,  is  an  aspect 
of  avidya  ;  for,  nobody  in  the  world  who  knows  that  he  is 
distinct  from  a  cow,  &c.,  and  that  the  cow,  &c.,  are  distinct 


from  him,  regards  them  as  himself.  Only  an  ignorant  man 
identifies  the  Self  with  the  aggregate  of  the  body,  etc.,  for 
want  of  discrimination,  in  the  same  way  that  one  mistakes 
the  branchless  trunk  of  a  tree  for  a  man; — but  not  he  who 
knows  the  truth  by  discrimination. 

As  to  the  son  being  spoken  of  as  the  father  himself  in  the 
sruti,  "  thyself  art  he  who  is  spoken  of  as  thy  son,"  it  is  a 
gau7/a-pratyaya,  a  figuratively  expressed  notion,  because  of 
their  relation  as  the  generator  and  the  offspring.  By  what  is 
only  figuratively  spoken  of  as  the  Self,  no  real  purposes  of 
the  true  Self  can  be  accomplished,  any  more  than  the  son  can 
eat  for  the  father.  No  real  purposes,  for  instance,  of  a  real 
lion  and  a  real  fire  can  be  achieved  by  what  are  only  figur- 
atively spoken  of  as  a  lion  and  fire. 

{Ohjedion)  : — Since  the  scriptural  ordinances  are  of  undis- 
puted authority  in  the  transcendental  matters,  the  purposes 
of  the  Self  can  certainly  be  achieved  by  what  are  figuratively 
spoken  of  as  the  Self  — viz.,  the  body,  the  senses,  and 
so  on. 

{AnsTx'cr)  : — No;  for,  they  are  selfs  set  up  by  avidya.  The 
body  and  the  senses  and  the  like  are  not  figuratively  spoken  of 
as  the  Self.  On  the  other  hand,  being  really  not-Self,  they  are 
regarded  as  selfs  by  illusion;  for,  they  are  regarded  as  the  Self 
so  long  as  there  is  illusion,  and  they  cease  to  be  regarded  as 
the  Self  when  illusion  disappears.  It  is  only  children,  the 
ignorant  people,  who,  for  want  of  knowledge,  think,  "  I  am 
tall,  I  am  yellowish,"  and  thus  regard  the  aggregate  of  the 
body,  etc.,  as  the  Self.  On  the  other  hand,  those  who  can 
discriminate  and  understand   that  "  I  am  distinct  from  the 

66.]  CONCLUSION.  '        469 

aggregate  of  the  body,''  &c.,    do  not    identify  themselves 
with  the  aggregate  of  the  body,  &c.  This  notion  of  identity 
is  therefore — because  it   does  not  exist   in   the   absence  of 
illusion — caused  by  illusion  ;  and  it  is  not  a  gau;?a-pratyaya. 
It  is  only  when  similarity  and  difference  are  distinctly  seen 
between  two  things — as  between  a  lion  and  Devadatta,  or 
between  a  student  and    fire, — that  those   two    things    may 
be  figuratively  spoken  of  in  word  as  identical  or  so  regarded 
in  thought,  but  not  when  similarity    and  difference  are  not 
perceived.  And  as  regards  the  appeal  made  to  the  authority 
of  5ruti,  we  say  that  no  such  appeal  should  be  made,   inas- 
much as  sruti  is  an  authority  in  transcendental   matters,  in 
matters  lying   beyond    the  bounds    of  human   knowledge. 
5ruti  is  an  authority   only   in    matters   not    perceived   by 
means    of    ordinary    instruments    of   knowledge,    such    as 
pratyaksha  or  immediate  perception; — i.e.,  it  is  an  authority 
as  to  the  mutual  relation  of  things  as  means  to  ends,  but  not 
in  matters  lying  within  the  range  of  pratyaksha ;  indeed, 
sruti  is  intended  as  an   authority  only  for  knowing  what  lies 
beyond  the  range  of  human  knowledge.     Wherefore  it  is 
not  possible  to  suppose  that  the  notion  of  "  I  "  which  arises 
in  connection  with   the  aggregate   of  the   body,    etc.,  and 
which  is  evidently  due  to  illusion,  is  only  a  figurative  idea. 
A  hundred   srutis  may  declare  that  fire  is  cold  or  that  it  is 
dark  ;  still  they  possess  no  authority  in  the  matter.     If  sruti 
should  at  all  declare  that  fire  is  cold  or  that  it   is  dark,  we 
would  still  suppose  that  it  intends    quite  a   difTerent  mean- 
ing from  the  apparent  one  ;  for,  its  authority   cannot  other- 
wise be   maintained  ;    we  should  in  no  way  attach  to  sruti  a 
meaning  which  is  opposed  to  other  authorities  or  to  its  own 



The  theory  of  Avidya  does  not  militate   against 
the    authority  of  Karma-Kanda. 

{Ohjedion)  : —  As  a  man  does  an  action  only  when 
he  is  subject  to  illusion,  it  would  follow  that  when  he 
ceases  to  be  an  agent*  the  sruti  (  which  treats  of  works  ) 
would  prove  false. 

{Answer):  No;  for,  sruti  .s  still  true  in  the  matter  of 
Brahma -vidya. 

[Objection) : — If  the  sruti  which  treats  of  works  sliould  be 
no  authority,  the  sruti  which  teaches  Brahmavidya,  too,  can 
be  no  authority. 

(Answer) : — Not  so  ;  for,  there  can  arise  no  notion  that  can 
remove  (Brahmavidya). — The  notion  that  the  Self  is  identi- 
cal with  the  aggregate  of  the  body,  etc.,  is  removed  when 
the  true  nature  of  the  Self  is  known  from  the  sruti  which 
teaches  Brahmavidya  ;  but  not  so  can  this  knowledge  of  the 
true  Self  be  ever  removed  in  any  way  by  anything  whatso- 
ever :  for,  knowledge  of  the  Self  is  necessarily  associated 
with  its  result(?.  e.,  the  absence  of  avidya)like  the  knowledge 
that  fire  is  hot  and  luminous. 

Our  theory,  moreover,  does  not  drive  us  to  the  conclusion 
that  the  sruti  teaching  works  proves  useless ;  for,  by 
restraining  the  first  natural  activities  one  by  one  and  there- 
by gradually  inducing  fresh  and  higher  activities,  it  serves 
to  create  an  aspiration  to  reach  the  Innermost  Self. 
Though  the  means  is  mithya  or  illusory,  still  it  is  true, 
because  the  end  is  true,  as  in  the  case  oF  the   arthavadas  or 

*  I.  e.,  on  the  cessation  of  avidya. — A. 

66.]  CONCLUSION.  471 

explanatory  statements  subsidiary  to  a  main  injunction. 
And  even  in  ordinary  affairs,  when  we  have  to  induce  a  child 
or  a  lunatic  to  drink  milk  or  the  like,  we  have  to  tell  him 
that  thereby  his  hair  will  grow,' and  so  on.— Or,  we  may 
even  argue  that  the  sruti  treating  of  works  is  an  authority 
in  itself''  under  other  circumstances  {i.  e.,  before  the  attain- 
ment of  Self-knowledge),  just  as  pratyakshaor  sense-percep- 
tion caused  by  attachment  to  the  body  is  held  to  be  authori- 
tative prior  to  (the  attainment  of)  Self-knowledge, 

Refutation  of  the  theory  of  the  Self's  agency 
by  mere  presence. 

AiwtJur  theory  runs  as  follows : — Though  not  directly 
engaged  in  action,  the  Self  does  act  by  mere  presence.  This 
by  itself  constitutes  the  real  agency  of  the  Self.  A  king,  for 
instance,  though  himself  not  acting,  is  said  to  fight  w'hen 
his  soldiers  fight,  in  virtue  of  his  mere  presence,  and  he  is 
said  to  be  victorious  or  defeated.  Similarly  the  commander 
of  an  army  acts  by  mere  word.  And  we  find  that  the 
king  and  the  commander  are  connected  with  the  results 
of  the  act.  To  take  another  example  :  the  acts  of  the 
ritviks  or  officiating  priests  are  supposed  to  belong  to  the 
yajamana  or  sacrificer.  So  the  acts  of  the  body,  etc.,  we 
may  hold,  are  done  by  the  Self,  inasmuch  as  their  results 
accrue  to  the  Self.  To  take  yet  another  example  :  since  the 
loadstone  or  magnet  makes  a  piece  of  iron  revolve,  real 
agency  may  rest  with  what  is  not  actually  engaged  in  an  act. 
And  so  also  in  the  case  of  the  Self. 

{]Ve  reply)  : — It    is    not    right    to  say  so  ;  for  it  would  be 

'  Sdkshdt,  directly,  ».  «..  independently  of  Brahinavidya— A. 

472  THE  bhagavad-gitA.  [Dis.  XVIII. 

tantamount  to  saying  that  that  which  does  not  act  is -a, 
karaka  or  an  agent. 

{The  opponent  says): — Yes,  karaka  or  agency  may  be  of 
various  kinds. 

{We  reply)  : — No  ;  for,  we  find  that  the  king,  &c.,  (as  in- 
stanced above),  are  direct  agents  also.  In  the  first  place, 
the  king  may  be  personally  engaged  in  fighting.  He  is  a 
direct  agent  as  causing  others  to  fight,  as  paying  them  wages, 
and  also  as  reaping  the  fruits  accruing  from  success  and 
defeat.  The  sacrificer,  too,  is  a  real  agent  as  offering  the 
main  oblation  and  as  giving  presents.  Wherefore,  we 
should  understand  that  to  speak,  by  courtesy,  of  a  man  as 
an  agent  when  he  is  not  actually  engaged,  amounts  to  a 
figure  of  speech.  If  real  agency,  which  consists  in  one  be- 
ing actually  engaged  in  the  act,  were  not  found  in  the  case 
of  such  agents  as  the  king  and  the  sacrificer,  then  we  might 
suppose  that  even  agency  by  mere  presence  constitutes  real 
agency,  as  in  the  case  of  a  magnet  causing  a  piece  of  iron 
to  revolve.  On  the  contrary,  we  do  find  the  king  and  the 
sacrificer  actually  engaged  in  some  acts.  Wherefore  agency 
by  mere  presence  is  merely  a  gau«a  or  figurative  agency. 
Such  being  the  case,  even  the  connection  with  results  can 
only  be  gau/^a  or  unreal.  By  a  gau/m  or  figurative  agent 
no  real  action  is  performed.  Therefore  it  is  quite  unreason- 
able to  say  that  the  activity  of  the  body,  etc.,  makes  the 
actionless  Self  a  real  doer  and  enjoyer. 

The  theory  of  Avidya  concluded. 

But  all  this  becomes  explicable  when  traced  to  illusion  as 
its  cause,  as  in  the  case  of  dreams  and  the  juggler's  art 
(may a).     And  no  agency  or  enjoy ership  or  any  other  evil  of 

66-67.]  CONCLUSION.  473 

th  ^  sort  is  experienced  in  sleep,  samadhi  and  similar  states 
in  which  there  is  a  break  in  the  continuity  of  the  illusory 
notions  identifying  the  Self  with  the  body,  etc.  Wherefore 
the  illusion  of  sa?«sara  is  due  solely  to  an  illusory  notion 
and  is  not  absolutely  real. 

Therefor©  we  conclude  that  Right  Knowledge  conduces 
to  absolute  cessation  of  sawsara. 

Qualification  for  instruction  in  the 
Qita  Doctrine. 

Having  concluded  the  whole  doctrine  of  the  Gita-sastra 
in  this  discourse,  and  having  also  briefly  and  conclusively 
stated  the  doctrine  especially  here  at  the  end  to  impress  it 
the  more  firmly,  the  Lord  proceeds  now  to  state  the  rule  as 
to  the  handing  down  of  the  instruction. 

67.  This  (which  has  been  taught)  to  thee  is 
never  to  be  taught  to  one  who  is  devoid  of  austeri- 
ties, nor  to  one  who  is  not  devoted,  nor  to  one 
who  does  not  do  service,*  nor  to  one  who  speaks 
ill  of  Me. 

This  sastra  has  been  taught  to  you  by  Me  for  your  good, 
for  the  destruction  of  sawsara.  Not  devoted  :  without  devo- 
tion to  the  Guru  and  to  the  Deva.  Never  :  under  no  cir- 
cumstances whatever.  It  should  not  be  declared  to  him 
who,  devoted  and  full  of  austerities  as  he  may  be,  renders 
no  service.  One  who  speaks  ill  of  Me  :  he  who  looks  upon  Me, 
VS,sudeva,  as  an  ordinary  man,  and  who   in  his  ignorance 

*  •'  Susrusba  "  literally  means  '  one  who  desires  t 


474  THE    BHAGAVAD-GiTA.  [DiS.  XVIII' 

declares  Me  guilty  of  self-adulation  and  does  not  like  to  be 
told  that  I  am  the  Isvara,  He,  too,  is  not  fit ;  and  the 
sastra  should  not  be  taught  to  him.  By  implication  we 
should  understand  that  the  sastra  is  to  be  taught  to  him 
who  does  not  speak  ill  of  the  Lord,  who  is  a  man  of  austeri- 
ties, who  is  devoted,  and  who  renders  service.  Now,  as  it 
has  been  elsewhere  said  that  it  should  be  taught  "  either  to 
a  man  of  austerities,  or  to  an  intelligent  man,"  it  should  be 
declared  to  a  man  of  austerities  who  is  devoted  and  renders 
service,  or  to  an  intelligent  man  possessed  of  the  two  attri- 
butes ;  it  should  not  be  taught  to  a  man  of  austerities  or  to 
an  intelligent  man  if  he  is  not  devoted  and  does  not  render 
service.  It  should  not  be  taught  to  him  who  is  jealous  of 
the  Lord,  though  he  may  be  possessed  of  all  attributes.  It 
should  be  taught  to  one  who  is  devoted  and  renders  service 
to  the  Guru.  This  is  the  rule  as  to  how  the  sastra  should 
be  handed  down. 

The  merit  of  teaching  the  Doctrine. 

Now  the  Lord  proceeds  to  state  what  fruits  will  accrue  to 
him  who  hands  down  the  instruction  : 

68.  He  who  with  supreme  devotion  to  Me  will 
teach  this  Supreme  Secret  to  My  devotees,  shall 
doubtless  come  to  Me. 

This  Supreme  Secret  :  the  Secret  Doctrine  taught  above  in 
the  form  of  a  dialogue  between  Kesava  and  Arjuna.  It 
is  Supreme  because  it  conduces  to  the  Highest  Bliss. 
Teach :  establish  by  teaching   both  the  text   itself  and  the 

67-70.]  CONCLUSION.  475 

doctrine,  as  I  have  established  it  by  teaching  it  to  thee. 
By  repetition  of '  devotion  '  here,  it  is  meant  that  by  devotion 
alone  one  becomes  worthy  of  being  taught  thesastra. — How 
should  he  teach  it  ? — In  the  faith  that  he  is  thus  doing 
service  to  the  Eternal  Lord,  to  the  Parama-Guru,  the 
Supreme  Teacher.  As  the  fruit  of  this  act,  such  a  teacher 
will  go  to  the  Lord,  he  will  be  liberated. 

69.  Nor  is  there  any  among  men  who  does 
dearer  service  to  Me  than  he  ;  nor  shall  there  be 
another  on  earth  dearer  to  Me  than  he. 

Nor,  &c.  :  There  is  none  in  the  present  generation. 
He  :  the  man  who  hands  down  the  sastra.  Shall  be  :  in  future 
time.     On  earth  :  in  this  world. 

70.  And  he  who  will  study  this  sacred  dialogue 
of  ours,  by  him  I  shall  have  been  worshipped  by 
the  sacrifice  of  wisdom,  I  deem. 

Dialogue  :  this  work  which  is  in  the  form  of  a  dialogue. 
Of  the  four  kinds  of  sacrifice  such  as  vidhi  or  ritual,  Japa 
or  a  loud  prayer,  upamsn  or  a  prayer  uttered  in  a  low  voice, 
indnasa  or  a  prayer  offered  with  the  mind.  The  jniina-yajna 
or  wisdom-sacrifice  comes  under  the  head  of  nuinasa  and  is 
therefore  the  highest.  Thus  the  Gita-5astra  is  extolled  as  a 

Or,  we  may  regard  this  passage  as   revealing   what    the 
real  effect  (of  the  act  enjoined  here)   is,    viz.,    that   the   act 
will  produce  an  effect    equal   to  that    of  wisdom-sacrifice 
of  the  contemplation  of  a  Devata  or   the  like. 

476  THE  bhagavad-gIta.  [Dis.  XVIII. 

The  merit  of  hearing  the  Doctrine. 

The  benefit  accruing  to  the  hearer  is  stated  as  follows  : 

71.  And  the  man  also  who  hears,  full  of  faith 
and  free  from  malice,  even  he,  liberated,  shall 
attain  to  the  happy  worlds  of  the  righteous. 

Even  he  :  much  more  so  he  who  understands  the  doctrine. 
Liberated :  from  sin.  The  righteous  :  those  who  have  per- 
formed Agnihotra  or  such  other  sacrifices. 

The  Lord  assured  by  Arjuna  of  his  grasp 
of  the  Teaching. 

The  Lord  now  asks  with  a  desire  to  know  whether  the 
pupil  has  understood  or  not  the  teaching  of  the  sastra,  the 
object  of  the  question  being  that  He  might  make  the  pupil 
understand  the  teaching  by  some  other  means,  if  the  latter 
be  found  to  have  not  understood  it.  And  this  is  to  show 
that  it  is  the  duty  of  the  teacher  to  try  again  to  make  the 
pupil  understand  the  teaching  and  enable  him  to  attain 
his  object. 

72.  Has  it  been  heard  by  thee,  O  Partha,  with 
an  attentive  mind  ?  Has  the  delusion  of  ignorance 
been  destroyed,  O  Dhananjaya? 

It :  what  I  have  told  thee.  Heard  :  have  you  heard  it 
without  distraction  and  understood  ?  Delusion  of  ignorance  : 
that  absence  of  discrimination  which  is  caused  by  ignorance 
and  which  is  natural.  Has  your  delusion  been  destroyed  ? 
Its  destruction  is  the  object  of  all  this  exertion  on  your 

71-74-1  CONCLUSION.  477 

part  to  hear  the  sastra  and  of  the  exertion  on  My  part  as 
the  teacher. 

Arjuna  said  : 
"j^.     Destroyed  is  delusion,  and   I  have   gained 
recognition  through  Thy  Grace,  O  Achyuta.  I  am 
firm,  with  doubts  gone.     I  will  do  Thy  word. 

Delusion  :  born  of  ajuana  or  ignorance,  the  cause  of  the 
whole  evil  of  saw/sara,  hard  to  cross  like  the  ocean.  /  :  who 
have  sought  Thy  Grace,  Recognition  :  of  the  true  nature 
of  the  Self.  When  this  recognition  is  obtained,  then  will 
all  the  ties  of  the  heart  be  loosened. — This  questioning  and 
answering  about  the  destruction  of  delusion  shows  con- 
clusively what  the  purpose  of  a  knowledge  of  the  teaching 
of  the  whole  5astra  is,  namely,  the  destruction  of  delusion 
and  the  attainment  of  a  recognition  of  the  Self.  So  the  sruti 
(ChhcX.  Up.  7-1-3,  26-2)  begins  with  the  words  "  Not  know- 
ing the  Self,  I  grieve  "  and  then  speaks  of  the  loosening  of  all 
ties  by  means  of  Self-knowledge.  There  are  also  scriptural 
passages  such  as  "  The  tie  of  the  heart  is  broken  "  (Mwid, 
Up.  2-2-8)  and  "  To  him  who  sees  unity,  what  delusion  is 
there,  what  grief?  "  (Isa.  Up.  7).  /  am  fiym  :  in  Thy  com- 
mand. Do  thy  word:  Arjuna  means  to  say  "  Through  Thy 
Grace  I  have  achieved  the  end  of  life  ;  I  have  naught  to  do,' 

Sanjaya  extols  the  Lord  and  His  teaching'. 

The  teaching  of  the  sPistra  is  over.  Now,  in  order  to 
connect  it  with  the  main  narrative,  Sanjaya  goes  on  : 

Sanjaya   said  : 
74.     Thus  have  I  heard  this  wonderful  dialogue 

478  THE  bhagavad-gIta.  [Dis.  XVIII. 

between  Vasudeva   and   the   high-souled   Partha, 
which  makes  the  hair  stand  on  end. 

75.  Through  the  grace  of  Vyasa  have  I  heard 
this  Supreme  and  most  secret  Yoga  direct  from 
Krishna,  the  Lord  of  Yoga,  Himself  declaring  it. 

Through  the  gtace  0}  Vydsa :  by  obtaining  from  him  the 
divya-chakshus  or  divine  vision.  Yoga :  this  dialogue ;  the 
Avork  is  called  Yoga  because  it  leads  to  Yoga.  Or,  the 
word  may  mean  Yoga  itself.  Himself:  it  is  not  through 
mere  tradition  that  I  have  heard  it. 

76.  O  king,  remembering  every  moment  this 
wonderful  and  holy  dialogue  between  Kesava  and 
Arjuna,  I  rejoice  again  and  again. 

King :  Dhntarash^ra,  Holy :  as  the  mere  hearing  of  it 
destroys  sin. 

77.  And  remembering  every  moment  the  most 
wonderful  Form  of  Hari,  great  is  my  wonder,  O 
king  ;  and  I  rejoice  again  and  again. 

Fovm  :  Visvarupa,  the  Universal  Form. 

Not  to  dilate  much, 

78.  Wherever  is  Krishna,  the  Lord  of  Yoga, 
wherever  is  Arjuna,  the  archer,  there  fortune, 
victory,  prosperity  and  polity  are  established,  I 

75-78]  CONCLUSION.  479 

Wherever  :  on  that  side  on  which.  The  Lord  of  Yoga  :  He 
is  the  Lord  of  all  Yogas,  since  the  seed  of  all  Yoga  comes 
forth  from  Him.  Archer :  W\e\dmg  the  bow  called  the 
Ghtd\\2i.  There  :  on  the  side  of  the  Pa«iavas.  Prosperity  : 
increase  of  fortune. 



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